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Author Topic: River of No Return (1954)  (Read 4595 times)
noodles_leone
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2011, 06:43:14 AM »

There was the potential for a much better film. I think the French liked it.

They did. It's a huge classic here. I don't know why.

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« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2011, 12:09:58 PM »

so let me get this straight: Rio Bravo has one musical interlude (featuring 2 songs) in 141 minutes, and so many of y'all whine about that. River of No Return has, according to my unofficial count, 4 musical interludes (featuring 5 songs) in 91 minutes, and none of you complain?

I haven't seen RONR for a very long time, and I only remember Marylin's singing in the first scene, which was probably ok as she was a saloon singer and this was a way to introduce her. And I think it was a pretty good shot if looked in the 2,35:1 aspect ratio.
I probaly won't have liked more scenes of this.

But I liked the 2 songs and the scenes in Rio Bravo very much.

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« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2011, 02:00:57 PM »

I think she plays the guitar and sings a song for the boy later on also. And at the end right before Mitchum retrieves her I believe she's singing again.

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« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2011, 03:09:13 PM »

Ya didn't like the "hit you on the head" symbolism of the red shoes, as a symbol of her former life?

I like this film.

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« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2011, 04:12:59 PM »

I haven't seen RONR for a very long time, and I only remember Marylin's singing in the first scene, which was probably ok as she was a saloon singer and this was a way to introduce her. And I think it was a pretty good shot if looked in the 2,35:1 aspect ratio.
I probaly won't have liked more scenes of this.

But I liked the 2 songs and the scenes in Rio Bravo very much.

Yeah, the singing in Rio Bravo was perfect for me; the guys are cooped up in there for days; it's normal that they'd have to do something to pass the time. And the songs are good songs too, and Dean and Ricky are real good.

in RONR, I believe Marilyn sings two songs in the beginning in the saloon; one in Mitchum's house; one by the campfire; and one in the saloon in the town at the end. After the first two songs (which were so awful, as was Monroe's singing, it made my skin crawl) I just forwarded it every time she started playing again. I could well be wrong about the exact number of songs (and I sure as hell will not watch it again to confirm), but I think it is something like 5 songs in 4 interludes.

Truth is, I shouldn't even defile Rio Bravo (perhaps my favorite AW film ever) by mentioning it in the same breath as RONR (one of the worst AW films I have seen in a while). It's just that in the Rio Bravo thread, there was some whining about the singing, but none in this thread. I don't doubt that the singing in Rio Bravo may have been a bow to commercialism due to the popularity of Dean and Ricky; but it fits well in that movie. In RONR there is no doubt whatsoever what it was a bow to.

(btw, I was also going to complain about the absurdity of the love aspect of RONR  (Marilyn going off with Mitchum after he attempts to rape her and his son kills her fiance'... Almost as absurd as Bandolero! where the Raquel Welch character goes off with the Dean Martin character who killed her husband and kidnapped her.... but I promised myself recently that I wouldn't do that anymore, cuz it's useless to complain about the ridiculousness of love aspects in AW's, which are about as much a given as pistols and horses.... whoops; I see I already broke that promise.... actually, this doesn't count, cuz I put it in parenthesis and began it with "btw"  Wink)

« Last Edit: May 01, 2011, 04:18:46 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2011, 04:26:36 PM »

1. as dave jenkins mentioned above, the rear projection of the river as the trio are on the raft is so horrible, it's almost comical.

2. An animal suddenly appears and threatens the kid as they are roasting the meat on the fire. Looks like some kind of big cat. I am wondering a) if anyone knows what it is; and b) if that is really found in the Northwest (i believe the film takes place in the Northwest...)

« Last Edit: May 03, 2011, 11:01:27 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2011, 04:46:37 PM »

If it was a cougar yes they are there.

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« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2016, 01:03:27 PM »

I saw it ages ago on a small tv set in b&w and of course dubbed, I think. Found it dull. Now, on a big screen and with original audio I have to reverse my judgement: very good. It plays fast, some scenes are spectacular, the kid is unobtrusive and plotwises necessary, MM singing is good, especially in the first two numbers (but, yeah, the material is poor), Mitchum is at his usual good, Calhoun just as good as the villain, the finale is very clever, though one may have expected. What doesn't work is, of course, the backprojections, but even more than that, the fact that the movie is almost entirely in medium shots and some  long takes (which was probably what made french critics enthusiastic) . And Preminger is not able to make much out of Marilyn's presence. Still I was never bored by it and I give it 7/10, maybe even 8/10.

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« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2017, 06:22:49 AM »

I also think that Marilyn looked a bit too fey to survive the wilderness but I do like her in this. Where I can believe her is as a salon singer. She could really put a song over. And her acting isn't that bad in this one either. Also the scenery is amazing.

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« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2017, 01:34:57 PM »

Preminger for my money is the most overrated director of the classic era, it shows here. It drags, like most of his stuff normally does. The MM perforance scenes are some of the best in the movie. There isn't all that much forMitchum  to do outside of being the somewhat weak working class stiff - he still manages to be cool because he's Robert Mitchum. I don't understand why he would be cast in something like that. They couldn't get Van Heflin?

The director of Laura, Angel Face and Anatomy of a Murder is overrated?!  Shocked

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« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2017, 01:42:42 PM »

Well they all hated it, though it should be noted that in Mitchum's biography it's stated that he liked Monroe, had great sympathy for her. There's a whole heap of back stories on it!

My review >

What are you chasing Calder?

After a stint in jail, Matt Calder is reunited with his son Mark and sets both of them up at a riverside lodge. One day he helps aid a couple who are struggling with their raft down the river. It turns out to be a dubious gambler named Harry Weston and his saloon singer girlfriend, Kay, whom both Matt and Mark have already been acquainted with. Turns out that Harry is in a rush to register his mining claim that he has just won, and sensing his journey will be considerably quicker and safer on horseback, steals, after a fight, Matt's rifle and horse. Agreeing to let Kay stay behind with the Calder's, Weston sets off. Once roused and ready to travel, Matt, aware that an Indian attack on their remote home is imminent, sets off in pursuit of Weston with the other two in tow, down the treacherous river.

River Of No Return, starring Robert Mitchum, Marilyn Monroe and directed by Otto Preminger. River Of No Return, the film neither of them gave a second thought too once the picture had wrapped. It was a much troubled production that saw Preminger and Monroe reach positive levels of hatred for each other, with Mitchum acting as go between for much of the time. Preminger was tackling his first film in the Western genre and clearly wanted to make it a mark of realism. A hard task master at the best of times, Preminger further distanced himself from his stars by demanding they do their own stunts, something that even the normally professional Mitchum found over the top. There's much more back story to the film, all of it creating a bad atmosphere on the shoot {Preminger even walking off the film before completion, leaving Jean Negulesco to wrap it up}, be it jealous husbands, nuisance coaches or peril from injury. All tid-bids available from various biographies or click-able internet resources. So the film, hated by the critics and makers alike, has to be a stinker then, surely?

Well some what surprisingly, no it isn't half bad. For sure the plot is simple in the extreme, and it's far from being a truly memorable Western offering. But it's IMDb rating of 6.5 is probably just about right. There is still much to like here. It's a gorgeous looking film for a start, yep there is some shonky studio work blending in with the location shoot, but Preminger and his cinematographer Joseph LaShelle really bring the wilderness rush on to the screen. Shot at both Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta, Canada, it's at once as beautiful as it is imposing, with Mitchum's ruggedness and Monroe's sensuality expertly framed within the landscapes. Some of the scenes alongside the Athabasca and Bow rivers are worth the viewing time alone, with the impact enriched by great work from the sound department (Bernard Freericks & Roger Heman). This a film that shows the need for the right location choices to utilise the Technicolor and CinemaScope enhancements available at the time.

The cast work well considering what little quality is in the script, tho Rory Calhoun as Harry Weston is underused because it's obvious that 20th Century Fox were trying to get maximum mileage from it's two leading stars. Mitchum, if truth be told, cake walks thru the movie. Not asked to do a great deal, it none the less works because Matt Calder is more about a beefcake presence than any thespian leanings. Something that Mitchum, in his laid back laconic way, was perfect for. It's a shame that Monroe, post release of the film, was so vehemently against it (calling it a Z grade Western at one point) because it's a sweet and affecting turn from her. In what could have been a stereotypical and typecast role as Kay, Monroe puts a bit of humanist thought into her, even coping well in the surrogate mother/ big sister strand involving Tommy Rettig's (The Raid & The Last Wagon) young Mark. Monroe also gets to do four songs in the piece, "I'm Gonna File My Claim", "One Silver Dollar", "Down in the Meadow" and the delightful finale of "The River of No Return" (Marilyn radiant here).

Not remotely close to being the best work by all involved, but as much as they all seemingly hated it, it has too much going for it to ever be considered bad. Yeah, 6.5/10 sounds about right to me.

« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 01:47:13 PM by Spikeopath » Logged

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« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2017, 03:45:42 PM »

The director of Laura, Angel Face and Anatomy of a Murder is overrated?!  Shocked

I'm not a fan of Preminger, but I do like Laura, even though that should have been filmed in three-strip technicolor.

Angel Face is stagy and has serious pacing issues (the similar Mitchum movie, Where Danger Lives is the better movie) in my opinion and Anatomy of a Murder was edgy for its time but it's basically an overlong 1950s Law and Order episode.

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« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2017, 10:03:09 PM »

I'm not a fan of Preminger, but I do like Laura, even though that should have been filmed in three-strip technicolor.

Angel Face is stagy and has serious pacing issues (the similar Mitchum movie, Where Danger Lives is the better movie) in my opinion and Anatomy of a Murder was edgy for its time but it's basically an overlong 1950s Law and Order episode.

Where the Sidewalk Ends, Whirlpool, Fallen Angel, The Man With the Golden Arm, Bunny Lake Is Missing.

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« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2017, 01:39:57 PM »

I really don't like any of those movies but I should give Whirlpool a chance.

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