Film Review of River of No Return: Fast Women, Quick Action, and Rapid Waters in The Old West
Do a good-looking tough guy, a kind-hearted beauty, and a winsome nine-year-old boy have anything in common? "No", "Perhaps", and "Yes" all emerge as answers in the film “River of No Return". In the Old West of the United States of America, the trio will either fall out or work together in striking it rich, taming wild river land, or walking out.
River of No Return is a Western which draws audiences into its straightforward plot through chase scenes in beautiful settings, personality conflicts amongst characters, and song-and-dance acts by the leading female actress.
Films about the Old West generally can be expected to include bad guys chasing good guys and vice versa. They typically focus upon conflicts between farmers, ranchers and townspeople. They usually situate some action in saloon halls between bar girls and gamblers or on the streets between lawmen and lawbreakers. Western films tend to look at what happens when wild people do wild things in wild places.
The taming of wild peoples and places indeed is a theme of River of No Return, written by Frank Fenton; produced by Stanley Rubin; and directed by Otto Preminger. The cinematographer was Joseph LaShelle. Editing and music were the respective responsibilities of Louis R. Loeffler and Cyril J. Mockridge. The scenes were shot indoors at 20th Century Fox Studios Stage 9 and outdoors at Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta, Canada
River of No Return is based upon a story by Hollywood screenwriter Louis Lantz (1913-1987). It originally was released by 20th Century Fox on April 30, 1954. It runs for 90+ minutes.
The running time is perfect for the film’s storyline. The film’s title refers to a river which flows past Matt Calder’s (played by Robert Mitchum) homestead and on to Council City, where mining claim deeds are filed. People tend to travel on horseback and with shotgun since rafters usually drown in the river’s rapids.
Harry and Kay Weston (played by Rory Calhoun and Marilyn Monroe) attempt the river route. Matt and his son Mark (played by Tommy Rettig) rescue them. Harry shows his gratitude by grabbing Matt’s horse and rifle and hitting him.
Kay chooses not to accompany Harry to Council City. But she ends up rafting the river when Matt’s house is destroyed. Mark kills Harry before Harry can kill Matt. Kay leaves a musical career for the Calders. But father and son share an understandable love for Kay’s music, which undoubtedly will brighten cabin life with guitar-accompanied songs such as the charming “Down in the Meadow”, the pensive “One Silver Dollar”, and the rousing “I’m Gonna File My Claim”.
River of No Return is a beautifully shot, finely tuned and sensitively acted film which can be viewed by all audiences. It offers adventure for adventure-lovers, beauty for nature-lovers, entertainment for family night, and happy endings for all viewers.
Copyright: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 by Derdriu
“River of No Return” trailer