- Red River (film)
: "For other uses of this name, see
Red River".Infobox Film | name = Red River
caption = Theatrical release poster
Howard Hawks Arthur Rosson
producer = Howard Hawks
Borden Chase Charles Schnee
John Wayne Montgomery Clift Walter Brennan
September 30, 1948 ( USA)
runtime = 133 min.
language = English
imdb_id = 0040724
"Red River" is a 1948 Western film giving a fictional account of the first
cattle drivefrom Texasto Kansasalong the Chisholm Trail. The dramatic tension stems from a growing feud over the management of the drive, between the Texas rancher who initiated it ( John Wayne) and his adopted adult son ( Montgomery Clift).
The film was directed by
Howard Hawksand, in addition to Wayne and Clift, also starred Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan, Coleen Gray, Harry Carey, John Ireland, Hank Worden, Noah Beery Jr.and Harry Carey, Jr.. Borden Chasewrote the script with Charles Schnee, based on Chase's story, "The Chisholm Trail."
Thomas Dunson (
John Wayne) is a stubborn man who wants nothing more than to start up a successful cattle ranch in Texas. Shortly after he begins his journey to Texas with his trail hand, Nadine Groot ( Walter Brennan), Dunson learns that his love interest ( Coleen Gray), whom he had told to stay behind with the wagon train with the understanding that he would send for her later, was killed in an Indian attack. Despite this tragedy, Dunson and Groot press on, only to chance on an orphaned boy named Matthew Garth (played as an adult by Montgomery Clift), whom Dunson effectively adopts. With only a couple head of cattle, Dunson and the boy enter Texas by crossing the Red River and Dunson proudly proclaims all the land about them as his own. Two Mexican men appear on horseback and inform Dunson that the land already belongs to their boss. Dunson dismisses this inconvenient fact, kills one of the men, and tells the other man to inform his boss that Dunson now owns the land. Dunson names his new spread the Red River D, after his chosen cattle brand for his herd. Fatefully, he promises to add M (for Matt) to the brand, once Matt has earned it.
Fourteen years pass and Dunson now has a fully operational cattle ranch. With the help of Matt and Groot, his herd now numbers over a thousand cattle, but he is also broke as a result of having been on the losing side in the
American Civil War. With the price of cattle in Texas not to his liking, Dunson decides to drive his massive herd hundreds of miles north to Missouri, where he believes they will fetch a much better price. After hiring some extra men to help out with the drive, they and cattle all set off on their perilous journey northwards. Along the way, they encounter many troubles, including a stampede caused when one of the men makes a sudden noise while trying to steal sugar from the chuck wagon.
Deeper problems arise when Dunson's tyrannical leadership style begins to affect the rest of the men and causes Matt to rebel. Eventually, Matt takes control of the drive in order to take it to the closer railhead in
Abilene, Kansas, leaving Dunson behind. This naturally infuriates Dunson, who vows to track down Matt and murder him.
On the way to Abilene, Matt and his men repulse an Indian attack on a wagon train. One of the people they save is Tess Millay (
Joanne Dru), who falls in love with Matt. Later she meets Dunson and offers to bear him a son if he'll let Matt live, but he refuses.
When Matt reaches Abilene, he finds men there who have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of such a herd to buy it; Matt happily accepts an excellent offer for the cattle. Unknowingly, he has just completed the first cattle drive along what would become the
Chisholm Trail. Shortly thereafter, Dunson arrives in Abilene with a posse to follow through with his vow to kill Matt. The two men begin a furious fight, which Tess interrupts by drawing a gun on both men and demanding that they realize the love that they share for each other. Dunson and Matt see the error of their ways and make peace with each other. The film ends with Dunson telling Matt that he will incorporate an M into the brand as he had promised to do years before.
John Wayneas Thomas Dunson
Montgomery Cliftas Matthew 'Matt' Garth
Joanne Druas Tess Millay
Walter Brennanas 'Groot' Nadine
Coleen Grayas Fen
Harry Careyas Mr. Melville
*John Ireland as Cherry Valance
Noah Beery Jr.as Buster McGee
Harry Carey Jr.as Dan Latimer
*Chief Yowlachie as Quo
Paul Fixas Teeler Yacey
Hank Wordenas Simms Reeves
*Ray Hyke as Walt Jergens
Wally Walesas Old Leather
*Mickey Kuhn as Matt (as a boy)
Hawks had originally offered the role of Cherry Valance to Cary Grant. Grant, who had previously worked with Hawks as a leading man, declined the role because he did not deem it suitable or important enough. [cite video | people = Todd McCarthy | year = 2000 | title = His Girl Friday commentary track | url = http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032599/dvd | format = | medium = DVD | publisher = Columbia Tristar | location = | accessdate = 2007-06-07 | time = 01:15:00 | quote = Hawks had offered a major role in "Red River" to Cary Grant--the gunslinger character of, Cherry Valance, played by John Ireland eventually--but, Cary Grant didn't think it was exactly suitable and wasn't really an important enough role so he turned that down.]
Shelley Wintersappears uncredited as a dancer in a wagon train.
"Red River" was filmed in 1946 but not released until September 30, 1948, reportedly because
Howard Hughesthreatened legal action against Hawks and United Artists, claiming "Red River" was too similar to Hughes' film " The Outlaw" starring Jane Russell.Fact|date=June 2007
Footage from "Red River" was later incorporated into the opening montage of Wayne's last film, "
The Shootist", to illustrate the backstory of Wayne's character.
Awards and recognition
The film was nominated for
Academy Awardsfor Best Film Editing ( Christian Nyby) and Best Writing, Motion Picture Story. In 1990, "Red River" was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registryby the Library of Congressas being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." John Fordwho worked with Wayne on many films (such as "The Searchers", "Stagecoach", and " The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance") was so impressed with Wayne's performance that he is reported to have said, 'I didn’t know the big son of a bitch could act!' [ [http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article/?cid=12472] |accessdate=2008-09-21]
In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. "Red River" was acknowledged as the fifth best film in the western genre. [cite news | author =
American Film Institute| title = AFI Crowns Top 10 Films in 10 Classic Genres | work = ComingSoon.net | date = 2008-06-17 | url = http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=46072 | accessdate= 2008-06-18] [cite web | title= Top Western | url = http://www.afi.com/10top10/western.html | publisher= American Film Institute|accessdate= 2008-06-18]
John Wayne filmography (1941-1960)
Harry Carey filmography
* Internet Archive [http://www.archive.org/details/Lux14 holds a March 7,1949 radio adaptation of the film] originally broadcast by Lux Radio Theater.
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