Panik am roten Fluß (1948)

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Panik am roten Fluß: Directed by Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson. With John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru, Walter Brennan. Dunson leads a cattle drive, the culmination of over 14 years of work, to its destination in Missouri. But his tyrannical behavior along the way causes a mutiny, led by his adopted son.

“Dimitri Tiomkinu0026#39;s thunderous score sets the tone for this rousing story of cowboy ranchers in nineteenth century Texas headed north, with a thunderous herd of cattle in tow. Itu0026#39;s the archetypal story of the American West, with its strong, ethical male leader, Thomas Dunson (John Wayne), and his pursuit of a big dream, set in an era when men were men, times were tough, hardships were inevitable, guns ruled, and Native Americans were the bad guys. What a saga …u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhat makes u0026quot;Red Riveru0026quot; such a grand adventure is its high quality. Its story is simple, direct, exciting, and well told, with complex characters, interesting and sympathetic because they show weakness as well as strength. Dunson is a good man, but heu0026#39;s stubborn and headstrong. His semi-adopted son, Matt (Montgomery Clift), is good with a gun but a little softhearted. Dunsonu0026#39;s chief sidekick is Groot (Walter Brennan), a cantankerous old buzzard who has problems with his teeth.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eItu0026#39;s the relationship between these three men that is the heart and soul of u0026quot;Red Riveru0026quot;. Trouble ensues along the way, you can be sure. And how that trouble unfolds and plays out presents viewers with engaging human drama, and humor, centered on these three main characters. The lonesome High Plains, with all its inherent risks, adds grandeur to the epic story.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAt strategic points in the film, the page of a book appears on screen with text that briefly summarizes upcoming events. Itu0026#39;s like we, the viewers, are reading a book about some long ago trailblazers. Itu0026#39;s a technique that could have been intrusive. But here, it is handled with such finesse that it actually helps the narrative, by functioning as a transition from one sequence to the next.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe acting is fine. John Wayne is more than convincing as Dunson. Walter Brennan is characteristically funny. And Montgomery Clift is terrific. Had he maintained his looks, and if real-life circumstances not intervened, Monty could have been one of the truly top actors through at least the 50s and 60s.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIf the film has a weakness, it might be the cinematography. Not often, but at times, the actors appear to be standing in front of a canvas, an effect that renders a shallow depth of field. Maybe this was the result of technical limitations of photography at the time the film was made.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThere are few film westerns that can compare in quality with u0026quot;Red Riveru0026quot;. And I donu0026#39;t know of any other cinematic cattle drives that are this good. So, the next time you herd your cattle to market, this is the film to watch. Even if you have no cattle, u0026quot;Red Riveru0026quot; is still a wonderfully entertaining cinematic experience.”

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