Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Red River

Red River is a 1948 John Wayne Western. Also in this are Walter Brennan, Coleen Gray (The Leech Woman, The Phantom Planet and of course other and better movies), Harry Carey (who was active during the silent era, in one of his last films), John Ireland (My Darling Clementine, All the King's Men, 1957's Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Spartacus), Hank Worden (who was in many John Wayne movies and an active actor until the year of his death in 1992 at age 91), Noah Beery, Jr. (whose first film was an uncredited role in the Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. 1920 Mark of Zorro, also in Rocketship X-M, Inherit the Wind and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), Harry Carey, Jr., Montgomery Clift (in one of his first films) and Paul Fix (an actor who had a long career beginning with silents and who has a Star Trek connection). Howard Hawks directs.

This is a classic Western, enjoyable both on its own terms and as an important film in the history of the genre. John Wayne isn't good in everything (I know I hold the minority view here), but he's good in this. Small character interactions (some friendly, a few comic, some conflicting) alternate nicely with large scenic views. It's hard to find any fault with this movie.

It's on the Images Journal list of 30 Great Westerns and there's a description there. opens their review with this:
Red River (1948) is a classic and complex western (and considered by many critics to be one of the ten best westerns ever made). It is a sweeping, epic story about a cattle drive (historically based on the opening of the Chisholm Trail in 1867) and a film of rivalry and rebellion, spanning a time period of fifteen years.
Wild West Web calls it "memorable". The Book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die says,
Hawks, the great film chronicler of macho pursuits, here stages the definitive cow opera, putting all other cattle-drive Westerns in the shade with beautiful, lyrical, exciting sequences of stampeding, rough weather, cowboying, and Indian skirmishes.
Roger Ebert considers it a "great film". Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 100%.

Other Westerns I've seen are listed here.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:01 AM

    It's a good horse opera. And, in the period in which this was made, it would be more economical to have the credits say, "By the way, Paul Fix isn't in this move," because he was in _everything_.
    -- A Pal