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Monday, June 25, 2012

River Of No Return (1954)

Recently released from prison, a widower (Robert Mitchum) is raising his son (Tommy Rettig) in an isolated cabin along a wild river when a raft containing a gambler (Rory Calhoun) and a saloon singer (Marilyn Monroe) is forced to the shore. The gambler attacks the farmer leaving him unconscious and steals his horse, leaving the three to flee hostile Indians on the raft traveling down the dangerous river rapids. I love this movie! As many times as I've seen it, I find myself revisiting it constantly. As a western, there's nothing exceptional about it yet it's simple, heartfelt and greatly entertaining with a marvelous chemistry between Mitchum and Monroe, two actors who personify Movie Star. The handsome Canadian landscape doubles for the American Pacific Northwest, lovingly shot in CinemaScope by Joseph LaShelle though the obvious rear projection shots are awkwardly inserted. Monroe gets to sing two lovely ballads that are among her best musical moments on screen. Directed by Otto Preminger, who clashed with Monroe and vowed to always make his own films thereafter rather than as a studio's hired hand. With Murvyn Vye, Douglas Spencer and John Doucette.

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