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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Bend of the River is in many ways Anthony Mann's `nicest' Western, but underneath the gorgeous Technicolor location work there's a darker side to Stewart's border raider desperate to reform and his relationship with friendly enemy Arthur Kennedy that threatens fireworks to come - and when they do, in the last 20 minutes, there's no problem in believing the depth of Stewart's rage or the relentlessness of his pursuit. Shot on many of the same locations as the even darker The Far Country, it's still terrific entertainment. Stepinfetchit's role is a little uncomfortable, but compared to the humiliation inflicted upon him in other pictures he's allowed a bit more dignity here than usual, closer to Hank Worden's Old Mose Harper in The Searchers than the racial stereotypes other directors expected.

As with Universal's DVD of Winchester '73, the print quality isn't always quite as good as it could be, but it's an acceptable transfer.
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on 24 February 2007
Although James Stewart had appeared in the western DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1939) he was more likely to be found in some sophisticated comedy or other up to and after WW2. Then he played the former army scout Tom Jeffords in BROKEN ARROW (1950). Directed by Delmer Daves.

Next came his first collaboration with director Anthony Mann in WINCHESTER '73 (1950) filmed in black & white, following the success of these two well-received westerns, James Stewart's and Anthony Mann's second western outing was BEND OF THE RIVER aka WHERE THE RIVER BENDS (1952). Adapted by Borden Chase (script writer) from a story "Bend of the Snake" by William Gulick, this time with the added bonus of Technicolor and the beautiful scenery on and around Mount Hood, Oregon, USA. Although BROKEN ARROW was made first it was released after WINCHESTER '73.

Starring along with James Stewart are Arthur Kennedy, Julie Adams, Rock Hudson and Jay C Flippen. The last two also appeared with Stewart in the aforementioned WINCHESTER '73 Wagon Master Jeremy Baile (Flippen) is leading a group of settlers from Missouri to Oregon. McLyntock (Stewart) is the scout who saves Cole (Kennedy) from a lynch party, both men turn out to be former Missouri border raiders during the Civil War. Along the way they meet Indians, Gold Fever, Treachery and the Forces of Nature.

Made in only six weeks BEND OF THE RIVER turned into a cash machine for Universal and was one of the most successful westerns of all time (Inflation adjusted).

Finally this magnificent western puts the Mann-Stewart partnership second only to John Ford and John Wayne. No matter how often I see this film it remains one of my favourite westerns ever, and still looks fine on this 2004 DVD Release. Look out for the 2006 DVD release of THE NAKED SPUR (1953) the third western in the Mann-Stewart series.
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on 23 December 2000
A great western full of adventure and gunfights. James Stewart always appears to take the role of an extremly convincing cowboy and never more so than in this film. The scenery is breathtaking.
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on 22 April 2008
james stewart was at his brilliant best in westerns,and this one should not be missed by any western fan.stewart plays a gunslinger who wants to change his ways and gets a job leading a wagon trail over the mountains,the people who he's helping know nothing of his past.
all goe's well until the settlers are not sent their supplies which they had paid for without these they will starve,so our jimmy rides back to the town to get them he manages to get it loaded onto the ferry and they head up river chased by a large posse from the town who were also sold the cargo at a much dearer price due to gold fever.there's bundles of action in this film and a cat and mouse chase right till the end ,the whole cast doe's a great job in this film and i highly recommend it to you all,its the type of film you will never tire of and will view many times sit back and enjoy.
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on 15 November 2015
Based on the novel "Bend of the Snake", a man with a past James Stewart guides a band of pioneers from Missouri over the Oregon Trail to a new life in the Columbia River Basin in this western adventure directed by Anthony Mann. With Julia Adams, Arthur Kennedy, Rock Hudson, Jay C Flippen, Henry Morgan and Lori Nelson. Good all round western entertainment. 89 min, PAL, Regions:2,4
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Having watched this film recently, it reminded me what a very good Western it is. "Bend in the River"(52) is the second in the series of Western collaborations between James Stewart and the director Anthony Mann. The series included "Winchester 73"(50), "The Naked Spur"(53),"The Far Country"(55) and "The Man from Laramie"(55). A very fine series of Westerns that redefined the psychological Western and the use of landscapes to match the mood of the characters. The screenplay was written by Borden Chase who also wrote Winchester and the Far Country.

The story concerns two men, Glyn McLyntock played by Stewart and Emerson Cole played with great flair by Arthur Kennedy. They are both former outlaws having been Missouri raiders. Glyn has gone good, but Emerson remains a rotten apple at heart. When the two assist a wagon train of settlers in Oregon, Emersons true self comes to the surface like the festering "Picture of Dorian Gray". In a climactic fight which unusually takes place in a raging river, Glyn is forced to kill Emerson. He is free to settle down with the very attractive daughter of a settler.

The film is beautifully shot. Not in a prairie location as the Amazon synopsis suggests. Unless I am mistaken Prairies consist of a lot of undulating grasslands and not majestic mountain peaks and glaciers which Oregon most certainly has. The cast is particularly strong. Rock Hudson turns up as Trey Wilson a gambler on the good guy's side. Jay C Flippen plays a settler and the attractive Julie Adams provides the love interest. Harry Morgan also appears as a heavy. Hard to reconcile that with his role in MASH.

This film is ravishing to look at it. It is unfortunately marred slightly by Stepinfetchit's racial stereotype, more in keeping with Harriet Beecher Stowes "Uncle Toms Cabin". This will not endear it to many but it is a minor blemish given the overall picture. I like the scene where the Jay C Flippen character whilst sifting through a barrel of apples hooks out a rotten one and compares it with Emerson. He alludes to his past and being unable to change. Stewart with his own dark past replies "Apples aren't like men". At the films ending, Flippen knowing McLyntock's past is forced to concede that point. It is true we can change for the bad. But it is equally true that we can change for the good. A very enjoyable film.
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on 21 September 2012
Bend of the River, directed by Anthony Mann, stars James Stewart as Glyn McLyntock, a reformed gunfighter who who risks his life to deliver supplies to homesteaders after gold is discovered in Oregon. While being attacked from two sides, the towns folk on one side and gold miners on another, McLyntock received unexpected help from a pair of gamblers (played by Arthur Kennedy and Rock Hudson). The film is typical of the westernsd of the era but this does not detract from the commanding performance given by James Stewart. It is a film that I can see myself watching again and again.
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on 11 December 2013
I had been wanting to see this film for a good while and this is quite a good copy. I love James Stewart and this is an excellent film.
If you seen it years ago you'll love it and if you haven't seen it and like good westerns you'll love it.Highly recommended.
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on 15 January 2010
Disturbing though it is to have to quibble with Trevor Willsmer and Bob Salter, the Lone Ranger and Tonto of the Amazon buffalo plains and Injun reservations, I can't quite see where these glowing reviews are coming from.

This is the second Anthony Mann western I've seen (Winchester '73 was the other) and both have been relative disappointments. Granted the visuals are wonderful, what with the careful framing of so many shots, the rich Technicolor, the magnificent Oregon landscapes and the perfect lighting of the night scenes so that they're neither murky nor - as so often - over-lit. What joy to have a western made almost entirely in the great outdoors with hardly a studio set in sight, and astonishingly enough we read it was filmed in just 6 weeks.

But for an hour the picture meanders at wagon-pace along the trail via a pretty perfunctory rescue from a lynching and a low-key Injun attack. It altogether lacks the inexorable pace and narrative logic of the best westerns. The central relationship between James Stewart and Arthur Kennedy, the two frontier raiders, goes nowhere very much in this time, and saloon gambler Rock Hudson's appearence is a non-event since no use is ever made of him.

Even in the last half hour, when comradeship turns into antagonism as Stewart embraces the law and civilisation while Kennedy chooses the continuing path of lawlessness, the pursuit is brief, unconvincing and largely off-camera, and the resolution passes without tension. While Kennedy with superficial geniality convinces as a man not wholly bad but prey to greed, James Stewart for me here (as in Winchester '73) has neither the physique (he was initially rejected by the US airforce in 1942 as being underweight) nor the voice to persuade me he's an ex-bandit and desperado. To my mind he looks and sounds more like the area human resources manager for Wells Fargo Bank, sent to Oregon to introduce a staff performance incentive scheme.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 August 2015
This 1952 film was the second collaboration between James Stewart and the director-writer pairing of Anthony Mann and Borden Chase and, in common with the trio’s 1955 film The Far Country, Bend Of The River is another spectacular watch (courtesy here of Irving Glassberg’s cinematography) whose narrative centres on a goldrush (here in Portland, Oregon) and, more so than in the later film, its disruptive, corrupting influence on the local populace. Mann’s film is also indubitably action-packed – within five minutes of the start Stewart’s 'man with history’, Glyn McLyntock, leading a 'frontier trail’ from Missouri to find good ranching country in the North-West, has already saved Arthur Kennedy’s (similarly tarnished) Emerson Cole from a lynching – and Bend Of The River features a series of spectacular shoot-outs as McLyntock & Co. find their path to idyllic existence blocked, in turn, by native Cheyenne, rebellious workers and goldrush fanatics, giving Mann’s film one of the highest body-counts I can recall in westerns of the era.

The other key element of Mann’s film is the moral uncertainty surrounding McLyntock and Cole’s newly discovered 'friendship’ – the tension around whether either (or both) have ditched their violent pasts is nicely played against Cole’s burgeoning relationship with Julie Adams’ Laura, daughter to (the always impressive) Jay C Flippen’s moral centre of the film, Jeremy Baile. Acting-wise, Stewart is (as ever) reliable, but (for me, at least) is probably just outdone by Kennedy’s subtly ambiguous characterisation. A young Rock Hudson turns up as gambling supremo, Trey Wilson, and from a shaky start (where one is simply dazzled by that shiny set of choppers!) puts in a reasonable turn, whilst the other particularly impressive performance here is that by Chubby Johnson as the grizzled, comedic riverboat captain (and part-time doctor), Captain Mello. Indeed, the riverboat/paddle steamer sequences are worth a particular mention, providing some of the film’s most evocative and memorable moments.

For me, not in the top echelon of westerns, but for the film’s spectacular visuals and its serious message around the potential corruption of humankind ('He seemed like a real nice fella. He was, until they found gold’) a film certainly worth catching.
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