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Red River (Full Screen)

John Wayne , Montgomery Clift , Arthur Rosson , Howard Hawks    Unrated   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 29.95
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Product Description


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

Special Features

New 4K digital restoration of the rarely presented original theatrical release version, the preferred cut of director Howard Hawks, with monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. 2K restoration of the longer version of Red River. New interview with filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich about Red River and the two versions. New interview with critic Molly Haskell about Hawks and Red River. New interview with western scholar Lee Clark Mitchell about western genre literature. Audio excerpts of a 1972 conversation between Hawks and Bogdanovich. Excerpts from a 1970 audio interview with novelist and screenwriter Borden Chase, PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and a 1991 interview with Hawks’s longtime editor Christian Nyby; a new paperback edition of Chase’s original novel, previously out of print.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ***** Movie. ** DVD. Oct. 4 2003
"Red River" deserves the adulation that critics, film scholars, and most importantly audiences have lavished on it since its premiere in 1948. One of the earliest "psychological" westerns, preceded by Selznick's "Duel in the Sun" (1946) and followed by King's "The Gunfighter" (1950), etc., "Red River" maintains interest after half a century due to the unique tensions between its characters, and the supreme skill with which those characters are played. Set against the backdrop of the first cattle drive along the Chisum Trail, the story basically boils down to an epic conflict between two men of different generations. John Wayne is the older sharp-shooter who builds up an empire through ruthless wiles and steely determination; Montgomery Clift, who is equally proficient with a gun, is the young surrogate son who tends to manage through intellect and reason rather than violence. These two opposing personalities and styles eventually erupt into a mortal combat under the strain of driving over 9,000 head of cattle across the hostile terrain of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
As the volatile Dunson, John Wayne gives one of his most finely nuanced performances. Living by a personal code of ethics which doesn't always translate into lawful or even rational behavior, Wayne is neither sympathetic nor deplorable; he's simply human. His performance is bolstered by the contrast provided by the quietly charasmatic Montgomery Clift, whose unspoken love and respect for Wayne's father figure shine through the fear and intimidation he expresses. (Remarkably, this was Clift's first performance in front of the movie cameras; the stage-trained actor seems to have adapted instinctively to the more subtle technique required of film work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An old time favourite Oct. 4 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is one of my husband's old time favourites, and he really loves John Wayne in anything. A great old time movie.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mutiny on the plains April 23 2004
Howard Hawks' 1948 RED RIVER is an ambitious, sprawling, epic western. It's on a number of top-100 lists, and it belongs there.
The movie tells the story of cattle rancher Tom Dunson and the first drive along the fabled Chisholm Trail. It's based on Borden Chase's "The Chisholm Trail"
The movie hits the ground running. Within the first five minutes there's a romantic leave taking, an indian attack and a burning wagon train. The romantic parting of Dunson (John Wayne) and his intended is a key incident in the development of this bitter and hard-driven character. Dunson and Groot Nadine (Walter Brennan), who left the wagon train with Dunson, are joined by a survivor of the massacre, Matt Garth - who, fourteen years later, will become the quick-drawing Montgomery Clift. The shocked boy is leading a cow, Dunson and Groot have a surviving bull, and with this bovine first couple they make for the open land south of the Red River.
Fast forward 14 years and Dunson has 10,000 head of cattle and a depressed, post-Civil War southern economy that can't afford to buy them. They must drive them to Missouri and sell them to the more prosperous northerners or face ruin. During that drive Dunson descends to near insanity and Matt ascends as a moderating influence and, apparently, becomes the only one who can successfully lead the men and cattle to market. Without giving too much away, something happens on the drive that will drastically change Dunson's and Matt's relationship and jeopardize both of their lives.
It's pretty heavy stuff, and John Wayne is rock solid great as the troubled Dunson. This is one of the greatest roles in the career of a sometimes under-rated actor. Montgomery Clift is fine in his screen debut.
Walter Brennan's Groot is a marvel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quality Western Oct. 5 2009
This is a quality western with a little bit of everything that makes a quality western.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Classic "Duke" July 9 2009
The movie is a great old western, typical Duke stuff. Terrific supporting cast, including Montgomery Clift's debut. The package advertises a 4 page booklet but that was not included. The quality is a bit rough, a number of scratchy marks on some scenes. I was disappointed in the product, not the movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Black and white sensation! July 15 2004
John Wayne's Red River is one of the most exciting and classical westerns of our century. So, if somebody hates black and white, screw them, it's their problem. Don't even review the product, genius! Alongside The Searchers, this is one of the Duke's landmark films. Also, John Wayne was our ultimate hero, prevailing in every gunfight and every story. His acting AND his strength certainly prevail here. Also filled with action packed gunfights and suspenseful scenes. The ending is fine.
The DVD transfer is nothing special, and somewhat grainy at times. MGM DVDS are not known to be the best DVD makers on the market. To shape up this classic western, expect a Criterion Collection re release and enjoy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An American Treasure May 12 2004
By M. Dog
In the rich history of American film, this piece of work by Howard Hawks makes the short list. It has been used as a template for any filmmaker wishing to make a Western, and further, it is one of those rare pieces of culture by which a society defines itself. If you needed to demonstrate to a foreigner what the American character is all about, you could show them this movie.
As a Western, it certainly has it all: cowboys killing Indians, men leaving women for the call of the trail, gunfights, stampedes, love, betrayal, and finally redemption. It is also gorgeously filmed, beautifully written, and well acted throughout. And finally, it stars John Wayne, an actor that towers over today's crop of male actors like an oak over weeping willows.
This film also stars Montgomery Clift as the surrogate son that eventually challenges Wayne for control of the drive. In terms of acting styles, Clift and Wayne were about as different as two actors could be: Wayne seemed always to act on instinct and charisma, while Clift was one of the young Turks through the 40's and 50's, a proponent of a new style of acting - the method developed by Lee Strasburg (one can easily imagine Wayne giving his crooked sarcastic grin over the very idea of a "school" where young people learn acting). Yet, casting these two together works. By all reports, the two hated each other at the beginning of the production, but had developed an actor's respect for one another by the end of filming. Wayne, after watching Clift in one of his scenes, was quoted as saying something like "damn, that little queer sure can act."
John Wayne, for his part, goes toe-to-toe with the new school of internal acting and more than holds his own.
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