Chicago Sun-Times - 03/01/1998
"...Russell Harlan's cinematography finds classical compositions in the drive, arrangements of men, sky and trees....Hawks is wonderful at setting moods..."
RED RIVER, Howard Hawks's masterpiece, is one of the greatest Westerns ever filmed, a saga of obsession and rivalry between a man and his adoptive son amid an epic struggle for survival in the Old West. Tom Dunson (John Wayne) journeys west to Texas to build a cattle empire and adopts Matthew Garth, a young boy orphaned by an Indian raid. Years later, Matthew (Montgomery Clift) returns from the Civil War and joins Dunson on a massive cattle drive north undertaken to avoid financial ruin. Stampedes and Indian attacks build tension, but it is Dunson's ironfisted leadership that causes the most problems, finally bringing the action to a boiling point that pits father against son. This bold canvas of the American frontier features stirring performances, including Clift in his first film and Wayne in one of his finest and most complex roles, stunning photography shot on location in Arizona, and a perfect balance of action, drama, romance, and comedy from one of Hollywood's greatest directors.
The ambitious dreams of a self-made but cruel cattle baron are threatened when his rebellious adopted son returns home from the Civil War and proves himself a more natural leader.
RED RIVER was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1990.
RED RIVER was shot in 1946 and thus was the first film produced featuring a performance by Montgomery Clift. Legal disputes delayed the release until 1948, soon after another Clift film, THE SEARCH, introduced the actor to the cinemagoing public.
Additional cast: Chief Yowlatchie, Hank Worden, Ray Hike, and Hal Talliaferro.
Vinton Vernon was the music recordist.
The restored version includes 8 minutes of additional footage.