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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 (51 customer reviews)
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Product Details

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.

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 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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4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed, But Still An Essential, Classic Western April 16 2004
One of the handful of timeless Westerns that essentially changed public expectations of the genre. The script and characters were unique for its day, when most Westerns had fallen prey to strict, good-guys-in-white-hats formulas, thus paving the way for for the likes of "High Noon" and "Shane". Wayne's and Brennan's performances are standouts by any measure, and the supporting cast of many John Ford-MGM stalwarts is equal to the task (you even find unique appearances by father-and-son veterans Harry Carey and Carey Jr, not to mention some B-Western bad guys from the Republic lot given a chance to do some real acting). Despite the contrived and awkward ending, the story and characters are riveting and exceptionally engrossing. Director Hawks seems to have had a field day here, as the production values are superb, especially for a western. The only obvious downside (and this is strictly a personal bias) is the shuffle-and-mumble Method techniques of Montgomery Clift, whose acting here and in later years remained somewhat contrived and stilted. As for that old standby, John Ireland, he reveals a more natural style that only highlights Clift's somewhat affected effort in the scenes they share. The ending aside, this is one of those classics that can be watched again and again to reveal new detail with each viewing. The DVD is a bit murky in spots, but it does convey the gritty, nearly film-noir visual style of the original. I was a kid when I saw the film's initial release. It's as impressive today as it was then. get it!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good movie good service
Published 9 days ago by Trudy Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Howard Hawks' seminal western drama looks pretty spiffy and is given...
Howard Hawks' seminal western drama looks pretty spiffy and is given the deluxe treatment with a ton of extras, not the least of which is a book and some very comprehensive... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nick Zegarac
3.0 out of 5 stars Comments by Denise Watts
It is too dark in night scenes. Otherwise, I liked it very much. Would still like to see the color version sometime. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Denise Watts
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional! Montgomery Clift is magnificent in this movie. He was and...
Monty is just sublime in this picture as he was in all 17 of his movies. If you haven't seen this, you should!
Published 2 months ago by M.F.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best
This is one of the best, if not THE best westerns ever made. John Wayne and Montgomery Clift make a great combination, Throw in Walter Brennon and others and it makes a superb... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Karve
5.0 out of 5 stars John Wayne still great
Not exactly what i thought it would be but it is still a great movie. John Wayne is always great.
Published 2 months ago by Shirley Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars more thank I expected
Fabulous and finally thanks Criterion for restoring both versions of this wonderful film. Blue Ray clarity is simply stunning and I Haven't even gotten to the extras yet. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gerry Lazar
5.0 out of 5 stars An old time favourite
This is one of my husband's old time favourites, and he really loves John Wayne in anything. A great old time movie.
Published 10 months ago by Pat Gould
5.0 out of 5 stars please colorize
In my opinion this is an absolute classic,with an amazing cast.I am a great fan of classic black and white,and many great movies would not be as good in color. Read more
Published 21 months ago by don c.
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality Western
This is a quality western with a little bit of everything that makes a quality western.
Published on Oct. 5 2009 by Spudislander
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