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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ***** Movie. ** DVD.
"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...
Published on Oct. 4 2003 by J. Michael Click

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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.
Apparently a color version was made on a VHS tape a few years ago. Is there anyway I could purchase that VHS?
Published 1 month ago by Denise Watts


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ***** Movie. ** DVD., Oct. 4 2003
By 
J. Michael Click (Pineville, Missouri, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Red River (Full Screen) (DVD)
"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.) Various other characters come between these two to create some memorable triangles throughout the film. Three-time Oscar winner Walter Brennan is wonderful as Wayne's longtime sidekick whose allegiance eventually shifts over to Clift; Paul Fix also does a fine job in a minor role as the character whose fate jumpstarts the conflict between the two leading men. Most fascinating among the supporting cast is John Ireland who plays the curiously-named Cherry; the Freudian scene in which he and Clift admire each other's pistols, and then commence to shoot them off together is simply astonishing. It's worth noting that Cherry is the first one to try and intervene during the climactic showdown between Wayne and the "son" he contemptuously characterizes as "soft"; equally significant is the fact that the character who finally brings resolution into the movie is a "strong" woman (played by Joanne Dru).
The MGM DVD release of this classic United Artists film is, in my humble opinion, abominable. The source print is visually a disaster, chock full of lines, jumps, flutters, speckles, and other visual noise. The grays are grainy and at one point, the picture even is briefly - and distractingly - out of focus. The sound isn't much better: it crackles and pops and the volume is inconsistent. Adding insult to injury, there are no extras at all, not even cast biographies or production notes, much less a theatrical trailer. This is one classic film that demands - and richly deserves - to be restored, remastered and repackaged.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Howard Hawks' seminal western drama looks pretty spiffy and is given the deluxe treatment with a ..., June 30 2014
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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 documentaries. Great stuff as always from Criterion. A must have/must own for everyone's top shelf.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Comments by Denise Watts, June 22 2014
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It is too dark in night scenes. Otherwise, I liked it very much. Would still like to see the color version sometime.
Apparently a color version was made on a VHS tape a few years ago. Is there anyway I could purchase that VHS?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional! Montgomery Clift is magnificent in this movie. He was and remains the best., June 20 2014
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Monty is just sublime in this picture as he was in all 17 of his movies. If you haven't seen this, you should!
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, June 15 2014
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Karve (Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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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 cast.
Honestly, the two women characters were irritating, but luckily they weren't around enough to make too much of a negative impact.
The scenery and storyline were top notch, and the acting was convincing. You could see the changes in Dunson as the movie moved along and you knew it was going to come to a head eventually.
The picture quality was excellent. Criterion Collection did a fine job with the restoration. Having the two versions of the movie was nice. There are things about both versions that I liked. They seem to coincide with what Howard Hawks liked as well. I would have really liked it if there had been a third version created for this set combining the two into a 'definitive' version of Red River with Walter Brennon's commentary and the longer ending, which is far superior. Oh well, it was just a thought.....
There was one thing that I noticed was missing. Years ago I remember seeing the movie on TV somewhere. There is a scene early in the movie where Dunson and Groot were fighting Indians. Near the end of the scene, Dunson goes off to get the last one while Groot stays behind to distract him. In both versions of the movie in this set, the scene cuts off before you hear Dunson doing in the last Indian. In the version I saw that once (and only once) you hear Dunson finishing him off and you can see Groot grimace. I wonder where this scene went in these versions? I assumed that one of these two would have that full scene but it doesn't. Strange. I always notice that when watching the movie. That scene just isn't complete.
Anyway, it's a great movie and well worth the price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars John Wayne still great, June 13 2014
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Not exactly what i thought it would be but it is still a great movie. John Wayne is always great.
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5.0 out of 5 stars more thank I expected, May 31 2014
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Gerry Lazar (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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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. If you're a fan of classic films then do not miss the wonderfully re-mastered Red River with narration From Walter Brennan. Thank you Criterion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An old time favourite, Oct. 4 2013
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This review is from: Red River (Full Screen) (DVD)
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
This review is from: Red River (Full Screen) (DVD)
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. That guy was such a good actor. Like all good sidekicks, and Brennan was the best, Groot is part court jester and part moral barometer. It helps that he plays most of the movie without his upper teeth in, too. Brennan was always better when his mouth was half empty.
There are some images that will stick with you for a while. Thousands of cattle crossing the Red River, a midnight stampede with a couple of hair-raising rescues. And there's a neat little bit with an angry John Wayne striding down a long street crowded with cattle - Wayne doesn't break stride, of course, and the cattle move out of his way like a longhorn Red Sea parting for an angry Moses.
For the most part the script is well written, and there's enough amusing scenes (usually including Brennan) to keep the whole thing from collapsing under it's own weight.
For instance, when Dunson and Matt are deciding who's to go along on the drive, Dunson excludes Groot (bum leg.) Groot mutters to himself like a live-action Popeye while Dunson and Matt continue their conversation. A distracted and exasperated Dunson finally says:
Dunson: What are you saying? I can't understand you. Where's your store teeth Matt bought you?
Groot: They're in my pocket.
Dunson: Well, why don't you use them?
Groot: 'Cause they whistle. I use them for eating.
Then there's the Joanne Dru character, Tess Millay. It doesn't help that her first appearance occurs in the third scene. One hour and forty-one minutes into the 2:20 movie, by my clock. My guess is the scriptwriters didn't want to clutter up the action with a romantic subplot until absolutely necessary. Fair enough, but it means that Millay's and Matt's romance has to be telescoped severely. Basically they meet, fall in love, and part in a day. It stretches an audience some. Worse, Dru as an actress simply wasn't right for the part.
One of her character traits, as written, is to talk and keep on talking when something worries or frightens her. She does this to negligible effect. It's a role that seemed to have been custom written for Jean Arthur, who always could blabber on to good effect, who could always drop her voice down to a husky purr or have it emit an abrupt squeak for maximum dramatic effect. Unfortunately Arthur was nearly fifty when this movie was made, so I guess casting her as a romantic lead opposite the young Clift would have, uh, added an strange and unwelcome dimension to the movie. Dru, in one of her earliest roles, just doesn't have the chops to carry off the role convincingly. All things considered, I think this piece of miscasting is more Hawks' fault that anyone elses. Anyway, I shaved a point off because of it.
I don't normally notice bad transfers, but there are a few dark night scenes in RED RIVER that look like someone lit a Fourth of July sparkler. And, less forgivable, my new factory-sealed-from-a-reputable-national-outlet retailer did NOT contain the advertised four page booklet. Finally, I've played the movie twice so far, and each time the start up menu screen doesn't appear until AFTER the movie is over.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars please colorize, Nov. 21 2012
This review is from: Red River (Full Screen) (DVD)
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.Red River was colorized on VHS a few years ago,and I enjoyed it very much. What I would like is to see a DVD with high quality colorization,and a remastered black and white version on it for those who prefer it.
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Red River (Full Screen)
Red River (Full Screen) by Howard Hawks (DVD - 2003)
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