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: Red River (1948)  ( 41387 )
drinkanddestroy
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« #75 : May 28, 2014, 06:46:51 AM »

also, is the narration read by Brennan the same words that are written on the pages in the pre-release version?


Is it true that the version with the notes was made for international release, for non-English-speaking audiences? if that's so, what does every other American movie with narration do? I'm sure there are plenty of American movies with narration that play in foreign countries with subtitles, where the narration is subtitled as well, no?


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« #76 : May 28, 2014, 07:51:48 AM »

but the version that this BRD calls the "theatrical version" is indeed the exact version shown in American theaters in 1948?
As far as I know. But it is not what Hawks wanted. Hawks wanted the Brennan narration and the ending uncut.



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« #77 : May 28, 2014, 07:59:28 AM »

also, is the narration read by Brennan the same words that are written on the pages in the pre-release version?
Please read the words I wrote earlier today. All of them.
Quote
Is it true that the version with the notes was made for international release, for non-English-speaking audiences?
This was somebody's theory. Not a very good one, as it turns out. It's easier to dub pictures into other languages rather than add opticals with text. The better theory is that the version with voice-over was intended for export. We'll never know. I really doubt, though, that Hawks concerned himself with such things.



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« #78 : May 28, 2014, 03:46:27 PM »

If the narration plus longer ending is the Hawks-preferred version, can't we get that? Even if that version was never available, couldn't they do seamless branching? ;) maybe they are waiting for the new ultimate special best ever edition for that - if the fan edits don't beat them to it ;)





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« #79 : May 29, 2014, 01:42:53 AM »

I'm looking again at Beaver's screencaps http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReviews8/red-river.htm – nevermind the Masters of Cinema BRD; I am specifically comparing the old MGM DVD to the new Criterion BRD – and (IF THE SCREENCAPS ARE TO BE TRUSTED, ESPECIALLY SINCE THE CAPS FROM THE OLDER DISCS WERE MADE ON DIFFERENT EQUIPMENT THAN THAT OF THE NEWER DISCS) it looks like – and Beaver mentions this in the text - the DVD is darker, the BRD is lighter. And I am not sure that I like the BRD better. Specifically, look at the screencap of the shot of Montgomery Clift sitting there with that piece of grass in his mouth; IMO, the darker DVD shot looks better than the brighter BRD.

Now, I know this boxset is a BRD/DVD combo, and I am just wondering the DVD in this boxset looks - does it look darker like the MGM DVD, or did Criterion do the same restoration with this DVD and now it looks lighter like the BRD?

I am definitely not making any final judgements from Beaver's screencaps; I will reserve judgement until I see the disc for myself. Being a huge fan of Red River, I am definitely gonna get this boxset, but considering that I'm not so sure the BRD image is better, I am thinking that maybe I should also get the MGM DVD (unless I hear that the image on the Criterion DVD looks like MGM DVD and not the Criterion BRD). After all, this is one of the greatest AW's of all time – maybe even THE greatest – so it can't hurt to be a nerdy completist for this movie  ;)

---

UPDATE: Okay, I just ordered the new Criterion BRD+DVD boxset, and the old MGM DVD.

BTW, it looks like Criterion will be releasing a separate DVD, i.e. not as part of a boxset, on July 8th http://goo.gl/uOFBqT
So is this what Criterion does now - release a boxset of BRD+DVD, then later release just the DVD? So they're not releasing any separate BRD's, but they are releasing separate DVD's?

« : May 29, 2014, 02:10:03 AM drinkanddestroy »

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« #80 : May 29, 2014, 04:48:58 AM »

BTW, it looks like Criterion will be releasing a separate DVD, i.e. not as part of a boxset, on July 8th http://goo.gl/uOFBqT
So is this what Criterion does now - release a boxset of BRD+DVD, then later release just the DVD? So they're not releasing any separate BRD's, but they are releasing separate DVD's?
Many institutions (schools, libraries) never went BD and are only interested in DVDs. Those places do not want the extra discs; they take up space, which is always limited. Criterion caters to this market.



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« #81 : May 29, 2014, 05:46:32 AM »

If the narration plus longer ending is the Hawks-preferred version, can't we get that? Even if that version was never available, couldn't they do seamless branching? ;) maybe they are waiting for the new ultimate special best ever edition for that - if the fan edits don't beat them to it ;)
Actually, it's a bit more complicated, as there are other differences between the two versions.
Quote
The Voice Version trims a number of scenes down, notably Cherry's description of the beautiful woman who told him about the railroad in Abilene (who is strongly alluded to as Tess in Borden Chase's original short story). The Voice Version also has a slightly different score, which is much more instrumental and grandiose compared to the often more vocal but muted score of the Book Version.
It would be hard to do seamless branching and retain a properly integrated score.

For some reason, CC chose to scan one of the versions in 4K, the other in 2K. This makes them technically incompatible (although no one using 1080p equipment could tell the difference). I don't know why CC did this--does it have something to do with the relative quality of the elements, or was it just a cost-saving measure? Whatever, an outfit like CC is never going the seamless branch a 2K with a 4K. Fan edits, here we come.



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« #82 : May 29, 2014, 03:04:34 PM »

Many institutions (schools, libraries) never went BD and are only interested in DVDs. Those places do not want the extra discs; they take up space, which is always limited. Criterion caters to this market.

but they don't cater to the people who only want BRD's and not DVD's. Schools and libraries have a limited amount of space, but our homes have an unlimited amount?  >:( When the world moves to streaming (and all your fears will have been realized) space won't be a problem...  ;)


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« #83 : May 29, 2014, 03:15:06 PM »

but they don't cater to the people who only want BRD's and not DVD's.
No, Little Prince, they do not cater exclusively to you. >:D You could always buy the company: then they'd satisfy your every whim.



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« #84 : June 05, 2014, 10:31:58 PM »

I received my BRD of Red River. Very nice set from Criterion - DJ, do you really think this is the last version of this movie we'll ever have to buy?

I usually don't bother talking about packaging, but one little thing I didn't like is the way you have to slide the bottom disc under the top one, and it's real hard to pop out each disc cuz that middle piece is pretty tight. I prefer the way other double-disc booklets have it, but I won't worry too much about that.


I read the Borden Chase story - definitely not a novel, more like a novelette or a novella – I enjoyed it very much. I didn't see any allusion to Tess being the girl that told Cherry about the railroad in Abilene (which is what DJ believes).

Anyway, for those who are interested, I'll try to write a little about the differences between the movie and Borden Chase's original story when I have time...

« : June 06, 2014, 03:09:34 AM drinkanddestroy »

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« #85 : June 05, 2014, 11:27:27 PM »

The Borden Chase story was serialized as "The Chisolm Trail" in the Saturday Evening Post. It was then released in book form under the title, "Blazing Guns on the Chisolm Trail," and later released in paperback under the title "Red River" to coincide with the movie's release.


The book is written in third-person (NOT narrated by Groot as the theatrical version of the movie was).
The basic set-up of the story is the same as the movie: Tom Dunson and his buddy Groot (the first name Nadine is never mentioned in the book) leave the wagon train and set up in Texas; they find little Matthew half-crazed after he got away with his cow from the wagon train which was burned by Indians, Tom kills the agents of Don Diego who want him off the land, then he says that he'll turn this into a great herd, etc.... Fast forward to the end of the Civil War, Mathew has fought for the South and is now returning to Dunson's ranch: but in the book, as Mathew is returning to the ranch, he stops in a saloon in Memphis, where he meets a singer named Tess, whom he figures he'll never see again...Matthew returns to the ranch, where Dunson he learns about how the carpetbaggers are destroying the South, how he has to get the beef to market or everything goes to hell.


Here is a key point in which the book differs with the movie: In the movie, they are doing the cattle drive cuz Dunson is broke; there is just one brief mention around the campfire about how Texas has been overrun by carpetbaggers and this drive will bring hope to Texas. But in the book, that is a key point that is mentioned again and again: that this cattle drive is being undertaken to save the State of Texas. That if they are successful in blazing a trail, others will follow. Without them, the State of Texas is doomed. And eventually, when Tom goes nuts and Matt takes the herd from him and says he is leading a drive to Abilene, that is the justification he gives for taking the herd: that he is doing it for the State of Texas, for all the other ranchers that are starving and will follow if he leads the way. So the mission takes on a sort of noble air. And Matt says he will leave the money they get on deposit in Abilene for Tom to pick up, but Tom says he is gonna come after Matt and kill him for stealing the herd.


BTW, the scene where Cherry and Matt are "pawing at each other," the scene with all the queer innuendo, where they testing each other's skill with the gun, is not in the book. Also, the book says there are 30 people along for a 5,000-cattle drive. In the movie, it was doubled to 10,000 cattle, but there is never an explicit mention of how many men are along. (In the book, about 4,000 cattle make it to Abilene, bringing in a little better than $80,000.)


In the movie, Bunk Kennely starts the stampede when he tries to steal sugar and clangs the pots; but in the book, it was a pure accident: the leather on his gun boot was worn out (or sumthin like that, I really don't understand all the Western jargon) and his gun went off accidentally and fired a shot, spooking the herd. So it really was an accident, which makes you totally sympathize with Bunk when Tom decides to whip him; in the movie, I am sure every viewer is happy when Tom decides to whip him.

Then, when the cattle drive meets the wagon train with the gamblers and women -- there is a real rivalry between Cherry and Matt for the affections of Tess. Tess is much less of a "nice girl" in the book than she is in the movie; she is a gold digger in the book; Cherry is so taken by her and so badly wants to marry her that he actually decides to take 5 gamblers with him to try to steal the herd from Matt and the other cowboys during another night crossing! Needless to say, the attempted theft is not successful, all 5 gamblers are killed though Cherry gets away, which leads to the ending....

 Tess accepts Tom's offer of half his kingdom for a son (though she loves Matt - it's not entirely clear if she rally wants to accept Tom's offer, or if she is just pretending to to try to convince Tom not to kill Matt) ; eventually, Cherry and Tom have a showdown – after Cherry has decided to marry Tess and steal the herd – but as Cherry is firing, Tess grabs his elbow, therefore, Cherry doesn't hit Tom square in the heart, only on the shoulder or other body parts, etc. And Tom's shots kill Cherry.
Now Tom is bleeding badly, still swearing he will kill Matt. As they get to Abilene.... I'd like to digress and copy a paragraph from the book I really like:
And so a town was born. It wasn't planned. No dreamers in Congress sketched its streets. Men built it. Hard men. Americans! Built it with gall and guts and sweat. Built it for profit and built it for fun. It was good to build. Good to spread their country across a continent. They made mistakes. Hundreds of mistakes. Thousands of mistakes. But they'd set out to build a country, and they got the job done.

......Tom is badly injured but he still faces Matt down, Tom draws and Matt draws, but Matt simply cannot bring himself to shoot at Tom, he just kinda holds his gun down, doesn't point or shoot at Tom; Tom then fires around Matt, trying to get Matt to shoot at him, but Matt refuses, and finally Tom, terribly weak from the shots he previously sustained from Cherry, falls in the dust.
Next scene, a wagon is driving south, toward Texas. Matt and Tess are in it, Tom is laying in back. A doctor in Abilene had said he could be healed if he rests in hospital, but no way, Tom wants to die in Texas.

Here are the final paragraphs of the book; it's now just after they have crossed the Red River, back into Texas, and Tom has asked Matt to lift him out of the wagon:

Mathew lowered his feet to the earth. Dunson reached again down deep into that iron will and found the strength to stand erect. He looked south over the moonswept plain. He lifted an arm.
That's Texas, Mathew," he said slowly. "I've come home."
"You've come home," said Mathew.
Quietly, like a man who lies down to pleasant dreams, Thomas Dunson slipped to the ground. His great arms stretched out and he pillowed his face to the earth he loved so well. And as he died, he smiled.
That night Mathew and Tess made camp beside the rough pile of stones that marked Dunson's place beside the Red River. Bright with the sunrise the Conestoga wagon rumbled slowly over the trail that in a few short years brought four million head of Texas cattle to the Northern markets. South in the promise of a new day. South, into the break of the dawn.



The book's ending is terrific, and needless to say, a million times better than the movie's. if it is really true, as DJ quoted from the UK BRD, that Wayne and Hawks cut down the size of Cherry's role and changed the ending because John Ireland was messing around with Hawks's girl, then shame on Hawks and Wayne. Shame on them. The ending is terrific in the book. Cherry (a man who "had killed twenty men and would kill many more") gets his; Tom gets his, but only after seeing the fulfillment of his dream of a great cattle drive, and dying in his beloved Texas; and Matt and Tess go forward in the new world. But in the movie, just makes me puke, to believe that a man as tough as Dunson would just smile and put down his gun after a few words from Tess. But we've discussed that bullshit ending enough. Anyway.....

A part of me says we need a re-make, in which we'll pump up the Cherry character, have the proper ending (and perhaps talk about building the great state of Texas...) but then another part of me says, this is already one of the greatest AW's ever made, flaws and all. You don't need to remake a masterpiece.

BTW, interesting note on bonus features, Hawks (in his interview with Bogdanovich) praises Ireland as an actor, though he mentions how Ireland would get fucked up on tequila and marijuana; of course he makes no mention of Ireland messing with his girl; he bashes Joanne Dru, says Maggie (Margaret) Sheridan was supposed to have the role but told him she was pregnant just before the movie was supposed to start shooting, so he used Joanne Dru, whom he had under contract but had only intended to use for musicals and comedies. He realy bashes Dru, says that the ending lines are just mot believable when she says it. NO, HAWKS, YOU ASSHOLE, THE ENDING SUCKS CUZ IT SUCKS. DON'T BLAME DRU FOR THAT! Boganovich also asks Hawks about the rivalry between Cherry and Matt never having a payoff, Hawks' answer is some bullshit about what that's what you'd expect from a normal movie, but he thought it was better to therefore not have it, play against expectations (PARAPHRASING)... of course, in the book, there is no payoff between Cherry and Matt either, because Cherry gets killed by Tom; but in the movie, Cherry's character gets this big buildup and then is dispatched so quickly by Tom, it's bullshit.

« : June 06, 2014, 03:11:40 AM drinkanddestroy »

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« #86 : June 06, 2014, 03:27:26 AM »

so I've been steeping myself in Red River during the past few days; now, I just listened to the bonus feature on the pre-release disc, an audio interview from 1969 with Borden Chase. Chase has some negative things to say about the way the movie was made – the clip ends with him saying, "You have to become pretty cynical about your work to keep your sanity; yes you do. That's the story on Red River – nevertheless, he says that up until the ending, the movie is basically faithful to his story.

Here's a little of what Chase says: Chase was hired to write the screenplay based on his own story. When he met Hawks, Charles Schnee was there; Chase said, "I don't collaborate," but Hawks assured Chase that the story would be entirely his to do.

Anyway, when Chase saw what Hawks wanted to do with the last scene, Chase said, "Howard, this is a lot of garbage." Hawks said that he didn't want Wayne to die. Chase responded, "If he isn't going to die, at least don't have some dame break it up. Hawks said, I like that scene. Chase said, That's a good scene, only it doesn't belong to you; you sold that to Howard Hughes, and I'm not gonna steal from Hughes. So Hawks said, Okay, I will have someone else write it, and he had Schnee write the last scene, so that gave him a split credit. (To hear Chase tell the story here, it implies that Schnee's only real contribution was the ending; but in the other BRD, the one with the theatrical version, there is a clip of Hawks being interviewed by Bogdanovich, Hawks said he used Schnee cuz Chase's screenplay was sticking too closely to his book; Hawks doesn't say anything about Schnee specifically doing the last scene. Personally, I doubt very much that Hawks would have given Schnee a screenwriting credit if Schnee had only written the last scene).


Funny thing is, Chase then says that he was telling this story, how Hawks stole the last scene from Hughes, and it was found out by Hughes's lawyer, and the lawyers asked Chase if he'd be willing to swear to that under oath, and Chase replied, "I would love to swear to that under oath!"
Ultimately, Chase says Hawks offered Hughes $1 million to allow the ending to stand, but Hughes said I don't want your million bucks, and Hughes ended up chopping the movie, which is, I guess, how the theatrical version came to have the shortened ending.


[BTW, I am just wondering how it is that the pre-release version was ever allowed to be show. Did Hawks eventually reach a deal with Hughes?]

Final point: Chase does mention that story that DJ wrote a while ago, which I think he read in the print of the UK DVD, how Chase was eating dinner with Wayne and hawks; when Hawks got up to go to the bathroom, Wayne told Chase that they are cutting down Cherry Valance's character cuz Cherry was messing with Hawks's girl (I assume he means John Ireland, not Cherry Valanace  ;)) Of course, Chase argued, said what does that have to do with the movie, it shouldn't matter if he was messing with the Virgin Mary, but Wayne said they are cutting it and that's that... And then, after telling how Cherry's character was diminished cuz Ireland was messing with Hawks's girl, Chase cites a specific scene in the rain during the cattle drive, where Cherry is supposed to say something all tough and big, up front in the scene, but instead he says it in a less-tough voice and the he is made to be less tough than he should. HOWEVER – AND THIS IS, IMO, THE KEY POINT – CHASE DOES NOT EXPLICITLY SAY WHETHER THAT IS WHY THEY CHANGED THE LAST SCENE. HE DOESN'T SAY WHEN THIS incident, this conversation between Wayne and Chase, took place: was it before shooting? was it in middle of shooting? etc. After saying Valance's character was cut, he gives that one instance that I just mentioned, and that is all. He doesn't say anything about the ending. And he doesn't say any of this story during the part of the interview where he is talking about the butchered ending; he says it a little afterward. (Not sure if this interview is one straight clip or a bunch of different pieces, but either way,) I am far from convinced that the ending was changed because of Ireland's messing with Hawks's girl. If Valance's character was diminished at all because of it, well, that certainly shouldn't have happened; but diminishing Valance somewhat is very different than changing the ending. So, the idea that the infamous ending of RR comes from Ireland messing with Hawks's girl, I am really not sure of that. I'd love to be able to get ahold of Bogdanovich and ask him directly about this point......

« : June 06, 2014, 03:59:36 AM drinkanddestroy »

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« #87 : June 06, 2014, 03:44:30 AM »

when Tom shoots Cherry at the end, it's not even clear whether or not Cherry is dead. You just see them shoot each other; Tom keeps walking to face Matt, and Cherry falls to the ground; Melville (the Harry Carey Sr. character) runs over to him to help him, and that's the last we see of them. Cherry is an important enough character that we should know if he lives or dies.

--

Anyway, my final word on the ending: I think that whenever I watch the movie from now on, I'll end it right after the scene where the cattle roll through the town of Abilene. That's a wonderful scene. Once they've rolled through, and the boys are paid up, that'll be all for me  :)


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« #88 : June 06, 2014, 04:32:51 AM »

I received my BRD of Red River. Very nice set from Criterion - DJ, do you really think this is the last version of this movie we'll ever have to buy?
It's the last one I'm buying, anyway.



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« #89 : June 06, 2014, 04:40:27 AM »

when Tom shoots Cherry at the end, it's not even clear whether or not Cherry is dead. You just see them shoot each other; Tom keeps walking to face Matt, and Cherry falls to the ground; Melville (the Harry Carey Sr. character) runs over to him to help him, and that's the last we see of them. Cherry is an important enough character that we should know if he lives or dies.

--



If you don't see him dead he obviously lives. I think there's no doubt about that the way it was filmed and edited.

The ultra-conventional ending by Chase would have been very sentimental and pretty painful to watch. I like Hawks nonchalant attitude which made him follow his feelings.

« : June 06, 2014, 01:04:34 PM stanton »

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