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Red River [DVD] 
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Tom Dunson (John Wayne) and his adopted son (Montgomery Clift) lead the cattle train which establishes the Chisholm Trail. However, father and son argue when it comes to bringing law and order to the Wild West: Tom is tied to an authoritarian approach, whilst his son favours a more liberal stance, refusing to resort to the law of the gun. Howard Hawks directs this celebrated Western.
Any short list of the all-time greatest Westerns is bound to include this 1948 Howard Hawks classic about an epic cattle drive. Red River features one of John Wayne's greatest performances. Like his Ethan Edwards in John Ford's 1956 masterpiece The Searchers, the Duke plays an isolated and unsympathetic man who is possessed by bitterness. Wayne is Texas rancher Tom Dunson, who adopts a young boy orphaned in an Indian massacre. That boy, Matthew Garth (played as an adult by Montgomery Clift in his screen debut), becomes Dunson's assistant and heir apparent--until Dunson's temper gets out of control during a long cattle drive and Matt intervenes to stop him. From that moment on, Dunson swears he will kill Matt. Red River has everything a great Western ought to have: a sweeping sense of history, spectacular landscapes, stampedes, gunfights, Indian attacks, and, of course, Walter Brennan as Dunson's crusty old cook and comic sidekick, Nadine Groot. As a special bonus, the film also features the legendary Harry Carey (upon whom Wayne would base some of his gestures in The Searchers) and his son Harry Carey Jr, who became a fixture in Ford and Hawks' Westerns. Red River is essential for anyone who loves Westerns, or movies in general. This one's a real beaut. --Jim Emerson, Amazon.com
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In a quest to fullfill his dreams of being a cattle rancher Tom Dunson (John Wayne) ignores his wagon master who's train they had joined en route to California and heads off to Texas with his right hand man Groot Nadine (Walter Brennan) with one bull and two cows leaving his sweetheart Fen (Coleen Gray) in the protection of the wagon train on the promise that once the ranch is set up he will send for her. Only a night into their journey a distant plume of smoke indicates that the wagon train has been attcked by indians. When the same Indian scouts catch up with Dunsan and Goot the pair fight them off only to prove Dunsan's worst fears.......his girl has been killed indicated by one of the slain indians wearing her bracelet, the same bracelet Dunsan had given her which had been left to him by his late mother. The two continue their journey and eventually reach the Red River, the border between Texas and Oklahoma where they meet up with a delirious and fiesty young boy Matt Garth who has survived an indian attack that killed his family and whose sole possessions are a cow and a small pistol. Admiring his pluck and courage Dunsan takes the boy under his wing promising that if he works hard he will make him a partner in his planned ranch and add his initial to the cattle brand.Read more ›
In the brief prologue, we see Tom Dunson (John Wayne, in one of his most iconic roles) bid an emotional farewell to the woman he loves, and head to Texas with his companion Nadine Groot (Walter Brennan) where he aims to build the cattle ranch he'd been dreaming of whilst he was fighting in the Civil War. As they approach the river, they come across Matt Garth (Montgomery Clift), a young, bright man who has managed to survive an attack by the Indians.
We next meet Dunson fourteen years later, by which time he owns more cattle than anyone else in the West, but he's starting to run out of money. He decides to take 9000 cattle with him to Missouri, where cattle fetch a very high price. With a group of cowboys hired to help protect him and the cattle he heads off, but before long the men start asking questions of his leadership...
The film is directed by Howard Hawks, and was the first Western he had made, after building his reputation on films such as 'Scarface' (1932) and 'His Girl Friday' (1940). Because he hadn't become as synonymous with Westerns as John Ford, he was never really considered as serious a filmmaker as Ford, and for a long time 'Red River' was undeservedly overlooked. In reality, the film looks absolutely amazing, with sweeping landscapes - easily rivaling the very best of Ford's films. The stampede, one of the film's pivotal moments, is superbly shot and must have been an influence on 'The Lion King', almost 50 years later.Read more ›
Without a shadow of doubt, Red River is one of the greatest Westerns ever made, boasting incredible performances from the cast, directed with sumptuous skill by Howard Hawks and photographed as good as any film in the genre. Based on the novel, The Chisholm Trail written by Borden Chase (also co writing duties for the film), Red River is a sweeping spectacle that doesn't have a frame that's wasted. Hawks (this his first Western) frames his wonderfully vivid characters in lush expansive landscapes, fleshing them out amongst the constant stream of drama and action. Tho Chase would be annoyed at the changes Hawks made to the story, he surely would have marvelled at the finished product, with Harlan's photography in and around Arizona's locales capturing a cowboys terrain expertly and Dimitri Tiomkin's score stirring the blood and pumping the viewer with Cowboy adrenaline.
If anyone doubts John Wayne as an actor of note then they need look no further than his performance here as Dunson. Tough and durable in essence the character is, but Wayne manages to fuse those traits with a believable earthy determination that layers the character perfectly.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This bluray print is virtually flawless and this is a great purchase.Published 5 months ago by Martin Bradley
This 1948 black and white western tell the story of the west in which man carves out of the wilderness his own destiny. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Walter Yeo
Wonderful cinematography and great performances. The blu ray transfer gives very satisfying results. Read morePublished 6 months ago by L.W