Dennis D. McDonald (ddmcd@ddmcd.com) consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Howard Hawks' "RED RIVER"

Howard Hawks' "RED RIVER"

Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald

What a fantastic movie this 1948 Western is! If you've ever wondered what 19 century cattle drives were really like, this we will probably show you almost everything you need to know. Plus, you get a remarkably strong father-son evolving relationship portrayed by John Wayne in Montgomery Clift as the cattle drive proceeds. And you get fantastic career performances from Walter Brennan and a host of other familiar Hollywood western faces.

True, the ending is weak. But ignore that. There are breathtaking cinematic moments here including a stunning 360° shot horizon-to-horizon pan as the cattle drive is about to get underway. Plus, if you don't duck when that flaming arrow comes straight out you you are not paying attention.!

The core of the movie consists of the complex performances by Wayne and young Clift. Wayne portrays an increasingly nasty rancher who drives the team responsible for the cattle drive with maniacal alcohol fueled passion. Consideration of mutiny finally is a rational course of action when faced with Wayne's over-the-top cruelty.

The movie is not perfect by any means. But sit back, enjoy, and pay close attention to the cinematography. Some real pros are at work here, and there's no CGI. As the man said, “They don't make them like this anymore!"

Mover review copyright (c) 2019 by Dennis D McDonald

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