Red River

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Movie Details

Year
1948
Director
Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson (co-director)
Key Cast
John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan, Coleen Gray, Harry Carey, John Ireland, Harry Carey Jr.
MPAA Rating
Not Rated
Film Type
Color
Genre(s)
Western, Action, Adventure

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John Wayne vs. Montgomery Clift – It’s father against son in “Red River.”

 
“Red River” was a huge success at the box office and until the making of the western “True Grit,” this film was considered by many critics to be John Wayne’s best western movie role.
 
John Wayne stars as Tom Dunson, a man who has forsaken everything (including love), in order to build his cattle empire from the ground up. When the local cattle market goes bad, he decides that he must take his herd to another state cattle market or lose everything.
 
The only real option that Dunson has is to do a cattle drive from Texas to Missouri along the Chisolm Trail – a path known for its extreme difficulty and danger. Nevertheless, Dunson sets out with his foster son Matt Garth (Montgomery Clift) and a group of hired cowboys for the long, lengthy cattle drive.
 
The cowboys suffer many hardships on the trail – trials that would break the average man. The pressure begins to wear on Dunson who starts riding his own men (and son) and hard as the herd. Matt confronts his foster father Dunson about his harsh and demanding behavior, which is bordering psychotic. This results in a bitter confrontation between the two men.
 
The herd must keep moving to market. Father and son now hate each other.
 
The Chisholm Trail has become their path of rage!
 


• “Red River” was the first film that actor John Wayne and director Howard Hawks made together. In fact, this western was the first western movie that Howard Hawks ever directed. Before making “Red River,” Hawks had already had a long, distinguished directorial career, having directed many noteworthy classic films like “Sergeant York” and “To Have and Have Not.” After making this western, Howard Hawks and John Wayne made three more cowboy western films together: Rio Bravo, Rio Lobo and El Dorado.
 
• “Red River” is based on the book named “Blazing Guns on the Chisholm Trail” by Borden Chase. The story was first serialized in The Saturday Evening Post magazine before being made into a novel. Borden Chase was a very interesting author. His real name was Frank Fowler. He chose his name by combining the names of the Borden Milk Company and Chase Bank. Borden Chase wrote a number of famous Western screenplays. Many of them are top classic western movies. They are:

Winchester ‘73
Bend of the River
The Far Country
Vera Cruz
 
• For this movie, “Red River”, Borden Chase was nominated for an Academy Award for his writing of the screenplay.
 


• “Red River” is one of the few western movies to be selected in 1990 to the U.S. Library of Congress, National Film Registry. This is a national registry for movies that are deemed to have significant cultural, artistic or historical value to the United States.
 
• “Red River” was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Writing (Borden Chase) and Best Film Editing (Christian Nyby)
 
• Howard Hawks was nominated for a Directors Guild of America award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement for his direction of “Red River.”
 

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Red River Movie DVD

John Wayne gives a riveting performance in this classic western as Tom Dunson. Montgomery Clift co-stars as his adopted son Matt Garth.   Their relationship turns sour and almost deadly when they become enemies while driving cattle from Texas to Missouri.  

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1 Response to “Red River”

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  1. This is definitely a classic! I don’t know why John Wayne didn’t win an award for his performance in this western.

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