Red River

Red River

4.3 7
Director: Howard Hawks, John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru

Cast: Howard Hawks, John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru


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John Wayne -- showing off a darker side to his screen persona than we'd previously seen -- portrays Thomas Dunson, a frontiersman who, with his longtime partner Nadine Groot (Walter Brennan), abandons a westbound wagon train in 1851 to make his future as a rancher in Texas. Doing so forces him to abandon Fen (Colleen Gray), his fiancee -- and when she is killed in an


John Wayne -- showing off a darker side to his screen persona than we'd previously seen -- portrays Thomas Dunson, a frontiersman who, with his longtime partner Nadine Groot (Walter Brennan), abandons a westbound wagon train in 1851 to make his future as a rancher in Texas. Doing so forces him to abandon Fen (Colleen Gray), his fiancee -- and when she is killed in an Indian raid a short time later, it taints any good that Dunson might find in the future he carves out for himself, destroying any joy he might derive from life. The sole survivor of the raid is Matthew Garth (Mickey Kuhn), a young orphan who is unusually handy with a gun for one his age -- and already knows how to channel his grief and horror at what he's seen, as much as Dunson does. Dunson informally adopts Matt as his son, and over the next 14 years he builds up one of the largest ranches in the entire state of Texas. And all of it is worth nothing, a result of the economic ruin wrought on the state in the aftermath of the Civil War. Matthew (Montgomery Clift), now back from the war and doing some of his own adventuring, finds a darker, more taciturn Dunson than he's ever known -- as Groot tells it, he's afraid because he just doesn't know how to fight the threats he now faces. With Matthew now returned, Dunson decides to move his herd, nearly 10,000 head of cattle, to Missouri, where there is a market for beef, over 1000 miles away through territory controlled by border gangs hundreds of men strong that have stopped every cattle drive up to now, and Indians who have picked off what the gangs missed. Dunson drives his men as hard as he does himself, relentlessly, till even some of his best hands break under the strain -- and he's not above killing anyone who challenges his authority on the drive. He's able to hold them in line as long as Matthew backs him up, and he does until Dunson, exhausted and worn down by lack of sleep, finally goes too far. Matthew steps in, backed by laconic, smirking gunman Cherry Valance (John Ireland) and most of the rest of the men and takes the herd from Dunson. Leaving his father and mentor behind, he heads the herd toward Kansas, where -- so the men are told -- there's a new railroad. Along the way, he meets Tess Millay (Joanne Dru), a card-dealer who falls in love with the young man. But he has to finish the drive and leaves her behind, much as Dunson left Fen. And they all know that Dunson is coming after Matthew to kill him.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
The sprawling, spellbinding western Red River -- officially and unofficially remade countless times in the half century following its original release -- is a genre touchstone, one of the few sagebrush sagas that approach perfection. Certainly it was a milestone in the career of leading man John Wayne, daringly cast in the unsympathetic role of Texas cattle baron Tom Dunson, whose single-minded devotion to his rangeland empire eventually alienates everyone around him, including devoted ward Matt Garth (Montgomery Clift, making an impressive film debut). The final rift occurs on the Chisholm Trail during a crucial cattle drive, of which Garth takes control following Dunson's relentless brutalizing of the hired hands. In Dunson’s view, that is an unforgivable transgression, and he vows to avenge himself on the young man, who loves him with a son's devotion. The Duke’s eye-opening performance was the first to win him genuine critical respect, and Red River marked the first of his several felicitous collaborations with Howard Hawks (Rio Bravo), whose direction perfectly captured both the hardships of an old-fashioned trail drive and the camaraderie of the seasoned drovers who worked it. Masterfully photographed and evocatively scored, Red River succeeds on every level and is still lionized by many aficionados as the quintessential movie western -- a judgment that’s very hard, if not impossible, to dispute.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
In his first collaboration with John Wayne, Howard Hawks examines capitalism and dueling masculinities in the rousing context of a Western cattle drive. A Mutiny on the Bounty for Big Sky country, Red River features a challenge between Montgomery Clift's Matthew Garth and Wayne's Tom Dunson that becomes a contest between new and old models of Western manhood -- a clash enhanced by the different performance styles of ambiguous, Method-acting, proto-rebel Clift and stolidly imposing star Wayne. Young and adaptable, Garth sees the necessity of finding new markets and cooperating with a community, including such potential adversaries as John Ireland's gun-loving Cherry, while Dunson's Old West individualism becomes an inflexible, economically ruinous monomania. The unsympathetic Dunson challenged the traditional Wayne persona, presaging the disturbed Western heroes that proliferated in the 1950s and 1960s, including Wayne's later role as psychotic Ethan Edwards in John Ford's The Searchers (1956) and in the films that Red River writer Borden Chase wrote for director Anthony Mann. Powered by Russell Harlan's dynamic yet moody black-and-white cinematography and Dimitri Tiomkin's score, Red River became a substantial hit, confirming Clift's star quality in his film debut and earning Oscar nominations for Chase and action editor Christian Nyby; it still stands as one of Hawks's top Westerns.

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Special Features

New interview with filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich about red river and the two versions New interview with critic Molly Haskell about hawks and red river New interview with film scholar Lee Clark Mitchell about the western genre Audio excerpts from a 1972 conversation between hawks and bogdanovich Audio excerpts from a 1970 interview with novelist and screen writer Borden Chase Lux Radio Theatre adaption of Red River from 1949, featuring John Wayne, Joanne Dru, and Walter Brennan Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Wayne Tom Dunson
Montgomery Clift Matthew Garth
Joanne Dru Tess Millay
Walter Brennan Nadine Groot
Coleen Gray Fen
John Ireland Cherry Valance
Noah Beery Buster McGee
Harry Carey Mr. Millville
Harry Carey Dan Latimer
Paul Fix Teeler Yacey
Mickey Kuhn Matthew as a Boy
Chief Yowlachie Quo
Ivan Parry Bunk Kenneally
Ray Hyke Walt Jergens
Hank Worden Sims Reeves
Dan White Laredo
Bill Self Wounded Wrangler
Hal Taliaferro Old Leather
Glenn Strange Naylor
Tom Tyler Quitter
Shelley Winters Dance Hall Girl
Lane Chandler Colonel
Lee Phelps Gambler
George Lloyd Gambler
Paul Fierro Fernandez
Wally Wales Old Leather

Technical Credits
Howard Hawks Director,Producer
John Datu Arensma Art Director
Borden Chase Screenwriter
Richard DeWeese Sound/Sound Designer
Lee Greenway Makeup
Russell Harlan Cinematographer
William McGarry Asst. Director
Christian Nyby Editor
Charles Schnee Screenwriter
Don Steward Special Effects
Dimitri Tiomkin Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Jack Williams Stunts

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Red River: The Theatrical Version
1. Early Tales Of Texas [2:04]
2. Leaving The Train [4:04]
3. Indians [4:35]
4. "He'll Do" [2:44]
5. Red River Brand [6:24]
6. Broke [4:49]
7. Every Steer And Cow [4:28]
8. Matthew And Cherry [2:21]
9. No Quiting [4:22]
10. "Take 'Em To Missouri" [3:06]
11. West Or North [3:10]
12. No Rest [4:11]
13. Stampede [9:09]
14. Punishment [2:53]
15. Dissent [9:45]
16. Crossing [4:54]
17. "I'm The Law" [6:36]
18. Dire Promise [1:21]
19. Comanche Arrows [3:55]
20. "Women And Coffee!" [3:00]
21. To The Rescue [4:44]
22. Nighttime Encounter [8:15]
23. Familiar Feeling [7:22]
24. Sights For Sore Eyes [2:38]
25. Abilene [4:00]
26. Historic Date [4:07]
27. Changing The Brand [7:43]
1. Chapter 1 [4:28]
2. Chapter 2 [1:41]
3. Chapter 3 [3:04]
4. Chapter 4 [2:05]
5. Chapter 5 [5:15]
6. Chapter 6 [:26]
Disc #2 -- Red River: The Prerelease Version
1. The First Drive [1:54]
2. Parting Ways [5:38]
3. Attacked [3:21]
4. Sole Survivor [2:43]
5. A Good Spot [6:49]
6. Ten Years Later [4:50]
7. Rebranding [4:29]
8. Good-Looking Guns [2:24]
9. Dunson's Rules [4:22]
10. The Drive Begins [3:06]
11. Another Railroad [3:10]
12. Tyrant [4:28]
13. Death By Sugar [9:23]
14. Cracking The Whip [2:52]
15. "I Don't Like Quitters" [10:16]
16. "A Lot Of River" [5:00]
17. Taking The Herd [7:12]
18. Dunson's Threat [1:28]
19. Dual Dangers [6:01]
20. Great News [3:15]
21. Encircled [4:55]
22. "Talk To Me" [8:15]
23. Shared Experience [7:31]
24. Whistle [3:03]
25. End Of The Drive [5:36]
26. Finishing The Job [3:28]
27. Showdown [7:33]


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Red River 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
it's really stretching reality to think that Clift, under any circumstance could knock The Duke off his feet. But hey, that's what movies are all about. The casting of Joanne Dru along with her dialogue is simply distracting. Otherwise a great film. Someday when you have nothing to do, watch this film and follow it up with 'Lonesome Dove'.
Angel22 More than 1 year ago
I like John Wayne but this movie just didnt have what his others have and that is good character actors, and a nice scenes. This was a bummer to watch. I do not recommend this movie.