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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Red River (The Masters of Cinema) [Blu-ray]
Format: Blu-ray|Change
Price:£8.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 10 December 2013
One of the all time Howard Hawks classics of the western genre. Featuring John Wayne and the young newcomer, Montgomery Clift, in a story based on the forging of the Chisolm Trail from Texas to Kansas. Some marvellous photography. Even without the benefit of CGI the number of cattle especially in the stampede looks awesome. Black and white but, with its gripping story, well worth watching. This Blu-ray version is far superior to the DVD, with its improved resolution, contrast and quality of sound. Among the extras, the tête-à-tête between Don Sallit & Jaime N. Christley did not do a lot for me but the enclosed booklet was quite interesting. Over all it was well worth the money.
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on 8 May 2009
If you want a western that has its being outdoors in the wide open spaces, then Red River fits the bill perfectly. It also concentrates on the hard life of the true cowboy in the context of a 1,000 mile cattle drive from Texas to Missouri, rather than on the gunfighter. Director Howard Hawks pulls out all the stops in his pictorial description (and I longed for the film to have been made in colour) of the drive, with a cast of thousands of beasts driven by c. 20 men, and we experience the stresses of their task up hill, down dale and at river crossings, all wonderfully conveyed in close-up and long-shot by Hawks' roving camera.

The human drama, a battle for supremacy, prestige and authority fought out from almost the first moment to the last by a cattle baron (John Wayne) and his adopted son (Montgomery Clift), both men of exceptional will and stubbornness, forms the emotional heart of the picture, and the rest of the large cast essentially make up both backcloth and chorus against which and whom the protagonists test themselves and each other. Both actors demonstrate great energy of being and feeling, and if Clift in the end takes away the main acting honours, this is because his role is the more subtle - a young man of sensibility made tough and unbending from Wayne's example and the requirements of the harsh terrain.

But the movie has its faults. First, it's too long at 133 mins; there are periods where neither story nor pictorial record are advancing. Second, the concentration on the two main characters leads to a lack of differentiation in the secondary players. In particular, when Cherry (John Ireland, always an intriguing actor), a cowboy gunfighter, is introduced, he promises to introduce an interesting sub-plot of malevolence and rivalry with Clift. But both character and this sub-plot soon dwindle away and are wasted, with Cherry becoming an anonymous figure well before the end. Third, as other reviewers here have pointed out, the sentimental ending is so disappointing. Everything has pointed to a final reckoning and then at the last minute Hawks ducks the issue - not only reducing the stature of the two protagonists but diminishing the whole point of the previously feisty Joanne Dru.

These drawbacks are enough, to my mind, to ensure that people who rate this up there with John Ford's "The Searchers" are fairly wide of the mark.
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on 10 November 2013
excellent quality and made a very good gift for a friend who collects western movies and this completed his collection, he was very please
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on 13 November 2013
This dvd arrived on time, perfect packaging. any film with John Wayne has got to be five stars, just like this one,, thanks...
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on 10 March 2009
You like westerns? Buy this.
You like John Wayne? Buy this.
You like Howard Hawks-directed movies? Buy this.
You like Montgomery Clift and his angsty-young-man stuff? Buy this.
You like Walter Brennan and his incomparable "wise old pard" act? Buy this.
You like a classic family struggle? Buy this.
You like a bit of epic sweep about the old west? Buy this.
You think John Wayne could never act? Buy this and change your mind.
Just buy this!!!!!!!!
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on 3 February 2013
Good movie, good quality. I have no more to say at the moment. I understood You will need more information. I am sorry!
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on 6 February 2014
my 94 yr old Uncle thought it was Great! Reminded him of his past cinema trips! He loved it all.
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on 8 January 2017
Criterion have gone the extra mile ( again) by remastering both the theatrical version ( that was preferred by Howard Hawks) and the prerelease 133mins version with copious explanations of how this was achieved. Included also is a radio adaptation, a huge amount of extras and the previously OOP paperback novel by Borden Chase. An epic western well worth the asking price.
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on 20 January 2014
This fine duster, in the way of old, is a great launch vehicle for Montgpmery Clift's movie career. In the established tradition of such films it is top drawer. If you know your guns etc it is technically flawed, but hey, so is The Wizard of Oz" For western movie buffs this film in blu ray format should be a part of your collection.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 23 September 2008
Red River concerns the story of an epic cattle drive. John Wayne portrays Thomas Dunson the ranch owner, and Montgomery Clift portrays Matthew Garth his adopted son. At the heart of the film is the relationship between the two men. Dunsons behaviour as the pressures mount becomes increasingly psychotic and at times murderous. This heads inexorably to a showdown between the two.
Red River has long been a favourite of mine. Yes it has its flaws. Manco is right in that the ending is a little contrived. But then killing off John Wayne was akin to box office suicide at that time. And as with the slightly contrived ending to "The Searchers", the overall picture may have been too bleak for audiences at that time. Studios have this funny idea that films need to make money. Yes Borden Chase the writer was not a happy bunny. I cant say for Alan Le May who wrote "The Searchers" but then writers are often not happy with the screen versions of their work.
That aside lets look at the good points. They far outwigh the bad. Did John Wayne ever give a better performance. Perhaps in "The Searchers" where he ages in a similar way. The film hits all the criteria buttons for a true epic. The scale of the cattle drive and the time spans of the story. The film has been described as a Western version of "mutiny on the Bounty" with Wayne carrying off the Bligh character to good effect. A powerful performance in comparison to the strange casting of Montgomery Clift as Matthew Garth in the Fletcher Christian role. I was never entirely convinced that the effette Clift was capable of taking on the larger than life Wayne. I know who my money would have been on. The cattle drive has never been surpassed and who can dislike the scene where the cattle drive starts. Magnificent and quite rightly paid homage to by Peter Bogdanivich in his film "The Last Picture Show". Howard Hawks the director was at his peak which he maintained with "Rio Bravo". The less said about the later Westerns the better. He definitely fell away from his artistic heights with age. I would also like to mention the excellent supporting cast. John Ireland and Walter Brennan deserving of a special mention.
My recommendation is to buy this film and watch it. It is a film full of what are now iconic images and it is undoubtedly one of the great Westerns. You will yearn to be with them on the Chisholm Trail.
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