RED RIVER

(1948)
With John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan, John Ireland, Harry Carey, Sr., Harry Carey, Jr.
Directed by Howard Hawks
Black and White
Reviewed by JL

Red River     One of the most heralded and influential Westerns, RED RIVER examines the conflict between tradition and progress.  John Wayne plays Tom Dunson, a veteran rancher looking to reap some profit by leading an enormous cattle drive through more than 1000 miles of territory.  An old-frontier individualist, Dunson is not above stealing some of his neighbor's cows, and he is obstinate in his disregard for the rumors that his cattle can be sold for a better price in a closer, newly developed town.  His inflexibility is at odds with the changing world represented by Matt Garth (Montgomery Clift), the young man Dunson has reared as a son.  Matt recognizes the need for trust and cooperation within a community, and he isn't afraid to explore new possibilities within the expanding nation.  The contrast in acting styles between old-school star Wayne and method actor Clift served to underscore the picture's themes.  RED RIVER is also a memorable visual experience, with director Howard Hawks taking full advantage of the open landscapes and the awesomeness of the enormous cattle drive.   - JL

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