The River

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Overview

The River must be seen in its original Technicolor; it is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine anyone fully enjoying this wonderful film while watching a black-and-white TV print. Adapted by director Jean Renoir and Rumer Godden from Godden's own novel, the film is set on the banks of West Bengal. The central character is teenaged British girl Harriet Patricia Walters, the offspring of a jute-mill owner Esmond Knight and his wife Nora Swinburne. Harriet and her best friend Valerie Adrienne Corri harbor a ...
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Overview

The River must be seen in its original Technicolor; it is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine anyone fully enjoying this wonderful film while watching a black-and-white TV print. Adapted by director Jean Renoir and Rumer Godden from Godden's own novel, the film is set on the banks of West Bengal. The central character is teenaged British girl Harriet Patricia Walters, the offspring of a jute-mill owner Esmond Knight and his wife Nora Swinburne. Harriet and her best friend Valerie Adrienne Corri harbor a crush for a dashing visitor named Captain John Thomas E. Breen, who in turn is preoccupied with the hauntingly beautiful Indian girl Melanie Radha Shri Ram. This languid state of affairs is shaken up by unexpected tragedy involving Harriet's impulsive brother Richard Foster. The real star of the proceedings is the titular river, exquisitely color-photographed by Claude Renoir Jean's nephew and his Indian assistant Ramanda Sen Gupta. The apotheosis of Jean Renoir's lifelong fascination with India, The River served as a launching pad for the directorial career of Satyajit Ray, who met and befriended Renoir during the shooting of this film.
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Special Features

New, high-definition digital transfer from the 2004 film restoration; Introduction to the film by Jean Renoir; Rumer Godden: An Indian Affair, a 1995 BBC documentary that follows the author as she journeys back to her childhood home in India; New video interview with Martin Scorsese, a key figure in the restoration; 2000 audio interview with producer Ken McEldowney; Stills gallery featuring production photos and publicity stills; Original theatrical trailer; English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired; Plus: Essays by film scholars Ian Christie and Alexander Sesonske
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Unlike other movies that use exotic locales to enhance their subjects, Jean Renoir's The River, shot on location in Bengal, India, doesn't feel like a distant, detached travelogue. Renoir's vision of India is wonderfully poetic and delicately observational, very much in the same rhythm as its surroundings. Renoir was one of the most graceful directors of his era, and the subtlety and depth of his vision is in full flourish in The River. The Eden-like setting complements a tale which captures both the tranquility and the pain of adolescence. This was the director's first color film, impressively photographed by his nephew, Claude Renoir. Although hampered occasionally by inexperienced performances, The River marked Renoir's return to the more humanistic films of his youth.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/1/2005
  • UPC: 037429202920
  • Original Release: 1951
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Time: 1:39:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nora Swinburne The Mother
Esmond Knight The Father
Arthur Shields Mr. John
Thomas E. Breen Capt. John
Suprova Mukerjee Nan
Patricia Walters Harriet
Adrienne Corri Valerie
Radha Melanie
Richard Foster Bogey
Penelope Wilkinson Elizabeth
Jane Harris Muffie
Jennifer Harris Mouse
Cecelia Wood Victoria
Ram Singh Sajjan Singh
Nimai Barik Kanu
Triak Jetley Anil
June Hillman Voice Only
Technical Credits
Jean Renoir Director, Screenwriter
Bansi Chandragupta Set Decoration/Design
George Gale Editor
Rumer Godden Screenwriter
Ramananda Sen Gupta Cinematographer
Eugène Lourié Production Designer
Kenneth McEldownery Producer
Satyajit Ray Asst. Director
Claude Renoir Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Credits/Introduction [2:55]
2. The Family [6:25]
3. Captain John [6:10]
4. Diwali [10:11]
5. Pretty Little Butterfly [4:13]
6. Wandering [6:28]
7. A Secret [4:59]
8. The Pipal Tree [4:04]
9. "The River Runs..." [2:33]
10. Harriet's Story [11:49]
11. A Snake in the Garden [5:13]
12. "An Unexpected Intrigue" [8:47]
13. Growing Pains [5:58]
14. Funerals [4:31]
15. Into the River [1:43]
16. Spring [7:35]
17. Color Bars [5:34]
1. "The Country Beckoned" [4:41]
2. Bittersweet Memories [5:10]
3. A Headlong Life in Calcutta [5:17]
4. Laurence Sinclair Foster [9:53]
5. "An Artificial Life" [5:47]
6. Black Narcissus [6:06]
7. Adrift in Kashmir [2:18]
8. "I Had Ceased to Be His Business" [1:59]
9. Breakdown [5:06]
10. Salvation [4:30]
11. A Mysterious Affliction [6:06]
12. Epilogue/Closing Credits [1:41]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Renoir Introduction
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Trailer
   Scorsese Interview
      Play
   McEldowney Interview
      Index
         Setting up The River
         Casting
         Renoir and Rumer Godden
         Location Anecdotes
         Legacy
      About McEldowney
   Stills Gallery
      Cast and Crew
      Production
   Rumer Godden: An Indian Affair
      Play
      Index
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Customer Reviews

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    Posted September 12, 2009

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