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Red River Review


Very Good
John Wayne stars in one of his most acclaimed films, Red River, opposite a young Montgomery Clift. Wayne is the tormenting rancher, driving his 9,000 head of cattle to Missouri to avoid bankruptcy; Clift is his adopted son, who grows increasingly antagonistic against dad's slave driving. Eventually, the cattle drive approaches a situation of mutiny, pitting father and son against one another.

Filled with beautiful black and white photography, especially for its era, Red River is an atmospheric ride a la Unforgiven, where it's hard to find a white-hat hero and a sense of dread surrounds the proceedings. Unfortunately, the film is hampered by a lame hoedown score, typical of 1940s Westerns, not to mention an atrocious "happy" ending that belies the emotion in the rest of the picture.

Continue reading: Red River Review

Rio Bravo Review


Very Good
Dean Martin as "Dude the Drunk," eh? Why not -- it works in Rio Bravo a favorite among Western enthusiasts that nonetheless is far too long, spending too long setting up the story before getting to the powerful finale. Wayne is good, but Dean-o steals the show along with Walter Brennan's crusty jailkeeper, who owns every scene he's in. A definitive piece of Americana by way of Howard Hawks, Rio Bravo is what the late 1950s studio system was all about.
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