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A strong man, as it was usual in the past...
I was mesmerized by Marilyn's beauty from beginning to end. The story is weak but her singing, saloon dresses and that beautiful blonde extension for hair are captivating.
Monroe and Mitchum were obviously waiting for production wrap.
I was curious about the combination of Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe with director Otto Preminger and in a western to boot. It holds together okay but it does threaten to fall apart at the seams on a number of occasions. Apparently no one got along on the set (including Monroe's acting coach) and the stars both exhibited their usual bad behaviour. This doesn't really show on the screen but it is a somewhat odd mix of Mitchum's sullen bravura, Monroe's breathy naiveté (with songs), a child actor (Tommy Rettig), angry Native Americans, and some too obvious back projection. The plot sees Mitchum (just out of jail) as a single dad who has just reconnected with his 9-year-old son, ready to do some homesteading out west where most others are prospecting for gold (parts of the film were shot on location in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada). Monroe is a saloon singer who is hooked up with a shady gambler (Rory Calhoun) who has won rights to a claim down river - he steals Mitchum's gun and horse, leaves Monroe (for the moment, or so he says), and heads off. When the Native Americans attack and burn his house, Mitchum has to guide a raft down the rapids (with Monroe and Rettig) to catch up with Calhoun. It's dangerous! Preminger may have been more comfortable with film noir (where he had used Mitchum more successfully in Angel Face, 1953) and Monroe seems out of her element but the end result is passable and probably a good example of the 1950s star vehicle.
Never was crazy about Marilyn Monroe like most people, but she truly was a good actress, dancer and singer. Good movie.
River of No Return (1954) C-91m. [2 and a half stars] D: Otto Preminger. Robert Mitchum, Marilyn Monroe, Roy Calhoun. Mitchum holds gun against Monroe, making her and her son take him across dangerous river, during which time they begin to fall in love (what else?). It's interesting to see these stars together, and the scenery is often breathtaking . . . but it only makes you wish script were better (the dialogue is often unintentionally funny).
This was an ok western. The stars of the film carried it and did well.
I was confused about the genre of this film - did it really need so much musical for a western adventure flick? After enough of Marilyn Monroe's pouty face and lip singing, the dwindling rear-screen projection (which started out good, but couldn't handle speedier scenes), and the improbability of these characters surviving situations where their assailants seemed to act clumsy, allowing them to escape, my thumb got tired of sitting up and started tilting. But the gorgeous cinematography and staging was a serious draw. Mitchum arrives amidst the chaos of Gold Rush, tents swarming a firelit plot of land where hooligans behave badly; we feel his strength of character as he walks through tall, not necessarily judgmental but not indulging either. He has one objective: find the son he lost and get the hell out. They have a few near-misses, but before too long they're reunited. Not much is done to satisfy their relationship developing through the story - they're happy to be together and when they encounter obstacles about why his father was missing for so long, they resolve them quickly. Preminger is such a master painter, taking inspiration from the wide landscapes of John Ford, always pitting the smallness of man and his quarrels against the everlasting backdrop of our American west. But it's Joseph LaShelle who fills it in with such pristine quality, from the smaller yellow highlights on trees to the massive color and contrast of deep blue sky and rustic mountain. Any moonlit scene with running river in the background moves the film from it's thematic title and contextualizes it - that serene background noise. It's as effective with natural sound as it is with the exciting classic Cyril Mockridge score. The scenes are patient, they allow us to see actors form a scene without excessive cutting, forcing Monroe to do real acting beyond mere sexy poses (which are plentiful). But her performance is one note, she has one face she keeps going back to with her upper lip extending out and lower jaw moving back, trying to talk with a toughness that gets as redundant as Hermione Granger yelling in Harry Potter 3. Mitchum is arguably one note, but with such presence that I find acceptable. There's a controversial near-rape scene which seems very easily forgiven by today's standards, she loves him and doesn't really mind him forcing himself on her. But they aren't a thing yet when that happens, and today that would not pass. I felt like the kid was more of a Short Round sidekick than a dramatically integral plot device, it could've almost been done without him. But it gave the two future lovers a common link of concern and care which drove them to survive, literally as Monroe identifies Mitchum is doing this all and surviving out of love for his son. Their adversary, Rory Calhoun, is driven by pure capitalism, and as usual, it catches up to him when the son mirrors his father, giving them a little poetry and bringing the story full circle. The son understands why sometimes, out of desperation, a man gets killed.
Had to see this for Preminger, Monroe and Mitchum. A good Wild West tale with river rafting, guns and Indians. The plot was almost good, but then fell short in many of the motivations. Beautiful scenery throughout.
an average story line,however the scenery,actors,Marlyn Monroe,and beautiful horses make watching this movie enjoyable.