This Burbank-based company specializes in fitting DVD packages with bells and whistles, like last year’s John Ford collection, which contained the deluxe two-disc editions of The Searchers (1956) and Stagecoach (1939).
Western-wise, they’re currently refitting Howard Hawks’ classic Rio Bravo (1959) and Mark Rydell’s The Cowboys (1972).
Rio Bravo will be another double edition. Besides a newly remastered print, it contains a nearly 50-minute conversation with Peter Bogdanovich, Walter Hill, Angie Dickinson and John Carpenter. Like the others, Carpenter is a lifelong Hawks fan; he borrowed liberally from Rio Bravo when he made the first version of Assault on Precinct 13 in 1976.
Bernadette Bowman, who coproduced both projects, says, “When we shot the material, Angie, of course, looked fabulous. And she’s the only living star who worked on the original film.”
She adds, “People really love this movie. Peter Bogdanovich told me that whenever he and Tom Petty get together and Rio Bravo is on TV, they turn it on and the world stops for them.”
The other extras include a new 20-minute feature on Old Tucson Studios, where the picture was shot, and a piece called “The Women of Hollywood’s Wild West,” which brings together Dickinson, Jane Russell, Colleen Gray, who was in Hawks’ Red River (1948), and Lana Wood, who played the younger Debbie in The Searchers (1956). In the film, Lana is kidnapped by the Comanches at the beginning and returns five years later at the end played by Natalie Wood, Lana’s real-life older sister (most people remember Lana best from her part as Plenty O’Toole in the 1971 Bond picture Diamonds are Forever).
For The Cowboys, Sparkhill was able to gather together much of the original cast, including director Rydell, Bruce Dern, Stephen Hudis, Norman Howell, A. Martinez, Robert Carradine and Roscoe Lee Brown. After The Cowboys, Hudis and Howell both became very successful stunt men and coordinators. Howell has doubled for Kevin Costner in many films.
“It was clear how much the cast admired Mark when we got them all back together,” says Bowman. “They all had a great time talking about John Wayne and their time with him when they made the film.”
The DVD also features a behind-the-scenes documentary made in 1971.