DIRECTED BY HOWARD HAWKS
PRODUCED BY HOWARD HAWKS/ CHARLES K. FELDMAN
MUSIC BY DIMITRI TIOMKIN
INFORMATION FROM IMDb
Tom Dunson builds a cattle empire with his adopted son Matthew Garth.
Together they begin a massive cattle drive north from Texas to the Missouri railhead.
But on the way, new information and Dunson's tyrannical ways cause Matthew to take the herd away from Dunson
and head to a new railhead in Kansas. Dunson, swearing vengeance, pursues.
Summary written by Jim Beaver
John Wayne .... Thomas Dunson
Montgomery Clift .... Matthew 'Matt' Garth
Joanne Dru .... Tess Millay
Walter Brennan .... 'Groot' Nadine
Coleen Gray .... Fen
Harry Carey .... Mr. Melville (as Harry Carey Sr.)
John Ireland .... Cherry Valance
Noah Beery Jr. .... Buster McGee
Harry Carey Jr. .... Dan Latimer
Chief Yowlachie .... Quo (as Chief Yowlatchie)
Paul Fix .... Teeler Yacey
Hank Worden .... Simms Reeves
Mickey Kuhn .... Matt, as a boy
Ray Hyke .... Walt Jergens
Wally Wales .... Old Leather (as Hal Talliaferro)
Lane Chandler .... Colonel (uncredited)
Davison Clark .... Mr. Meeker (uncredited)
Harry Cording .... Gambler (uncredited)
Richard Farnsworth .... Dunston Rider (uncredited)
Paul Fierro .... Fernandez (uncredited)
George Lloyd .... Rider with Mr. Melville (uncredited)
Pierce Lyden .... Colonel's Trail Boss (uncredited)
John Merton .... Settler (uncredited)
Ivan Parry .... Bunk Kenneally (uncredited)
Lee Phelps .... Gambler (uncredited)
William Self .... Wounded Wrangler (uncredited)
Glenn Strange .... Naylor (uncredited)
Tom Tyler .... The Quitter (uncredited)
Dan White .... Laredo (uncredited)
Shelley Winters .... Dance Hall Girl in Wagon Train (uncredited)
Richard Farnsworth .... stunts (uncredited)
Ben Johnson .... stunts (uncredited)
Fred Kennedy .... stunts (uncredited)
Danny Sands .... stunts (uncredited)
Jack Williams .... stunts (uncredited)
Borden Chase screenplay & story The Chisholm Trail)
Charles Schnee (screenplay)
Filmed in 1946 but held for release for two years, in part due to legal problems with Howard Hughes who claimed it was similar to his The Outlaw (1943).
Texas Longhorn cattle had been nearly extinct as a breed for about 50 years when this film was made. Only a few dozen animals were available. In the herd scenes most of the cattle are Hereford crosses with the precious Longhorns prominently placed in crucial scenes.
The theme song, "Settle Down" was later used under the title "My Rifle, My Pony and Me" in Rio Bravo (1959), another John Wayne western.
There was some concern that John Wayne and Montgomery Clift would not get along since they were diametrically opposed on all political issues, and both were outspoken on their views. According to legend they agreed not to discuss politics and the shooting went smoothly. However both Wayne and Walter Brennan would not get along with Clift since they were aware of his homosexuality, and they stayed away from the young actor when not filming. At one point Wayne tried to have Clift replaced when he heard that his co-star was having an affair with John Ireland. Clift later turned down Dean Martin's role in Rio Bravo (1959) because he did not want to be reunited with those two actors.
Five dams were built to bring the San Pedro River in Arizona, where the crossings were shot, to flood stage.
In a 1974 interview, Howard Hawks said that he originally offered the role of Thomas Dunson to Gary Cooper but he had declined it because he didn't believe the ruthless nature of Dunson's character would have suited his screen image.
The role of Tess Millay was intended for Margaret Sheridan but she became pregnant shortly before filming. Instead she suggested her friend Joanne Dru for the role.
Cary Grant (who had worked with Howard Hawks on Bringing Up Baby (1938) and Only Angels Have Wings (1939)) turned down the role of gunslinger Cherry Valance, a part that was subsequently minimized in the final film.
During production, many members of the cast and crew caught illnesses and injuries. Howard Hawks was hospitalized for several days after being stung by a centipede. John Wayne caught a severe cold. Joanne Dru suffered from influenza.
This is Montgomery Clift's debut film, but because it was shelved for 2 years, the first film the public saw of Clift was The Search (1948), which he was Oscar-nominated for.
Upon completing this movie, Howard Hawks gave John Wayne a belt buckle that featured the Red River D logo (Wayne later wore this as part of his costume in El Dorado (1966)). Wayne later returned the favor and gave Hawks a twin buckle.
Ranked #5 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Western" in June 2008.
After seeing John Wayne's performance in Red River (1948), directed by rival director Howard Hawks, John Ford is quoted as saying, "I never knew the big son of a bitch could act."
The only film that father, Harry Carey, and son, Harry Carey Jr. appeared together in.
The famous scene where Montgomery Clift and John Ireland compare their revolvers was allegedly a reference to the affair they were having in real life.
Howard Hawks was distressed by John Ireland's unprofessional and lecherous behavior during filming, which were partially due to the actor's alcoholism. This contributed to Ireland's part, "Cherry Valance", being drastically reduced in the finished film. At one point, Cary Grant was in consideration for the part (he turned it down).
Writer Borden Chase readily admitted that the storyline was Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) with saddles and stirrups.
Howard Hawks originally wanted Gregg Toland as his director of photography. When Toland proved unavailable, he had to go with Russell Harlan instead.
Final film of Harry Carey
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 7, 1949 with John Wayne, Joanne Dru and Walter Brennan reprising their film roles.
"Red River" was 1948's third highest grossing film at $4,150,000. Only "The Road to Rio" ($4,500,000) and "Easter Parade" ($4,200,000) made more.
* nachronisms: The film is set in 1865 yet several Colt Model 1873 Single-Action Army Revolvers are seen which were not available until later.
* Anachronisms: When they are driving the cattle and go to the aid of the wagon train, a communications mast can be seen on the hill in the background of one shot of the five horsemen. The next shot is a closer view of one rider and the mast can be seen even more clearly.
* Factual errors: The film gives 14 August 1865 as the completion of the first cattle drive on the Chisholm Trail. However, the first cattle drive on the Chisholm Trail started and finished in 1867, two years later.
* Crew or equipment visible: An equipment shadow tracks across the wagon as the camera pans from Groot to Dunson during their first night on guard at Red River.
* Continuity: During the cattle stampede, Dunson, Matt and the other cowboys saddle up and try to turn the herd. Process shots of each cowboys are inserted in the scene. Every cowboy is riding the same dummy horse and saddle with a very large Mexican saddlehorn.
* Continuity: Inside the tent, during Tom and Tess's conversation, the lamp hanging between them changes positions and disappears between shots.
* Continuity: Near the end of the film, when Tom walks toward Matt, his shadow changes repeatedly from one shot to another.
* Continuity: When Dunson is standing next to his horse after Mathew Garth takes the herd from him, he clearly has a belt full of cartridges, but later on Mathew confirms to Groot that he took all of Dunson's cartridges.
* Revealing mistakes: Matthew Garth seems to beat Thomas Dunson to the draw in a mock contest orchestrated by Dunston and Groot Nadine. However the gun is already in Garth's right hand in order to fool the audience, as evidenced by the his empty holster as he walks away.
* Continuity: Near the end of the movie, John Wayne is shot. After a fight with Montgomery Clift, Wayne is miraculously well again.
* Continuity: As the men and the herd approach the railroad, the clouds change from scattered to clear, to overcast as they approach the town of Abilene.
* Errors in geography: The trail would not go near any mountains.
* Errors in geography: The "Red River" is flowing the wrong direction. If the herd is crossing from south to north, the water should be flowing from west to east, or from the left side of the screen to the right.
* Errors in geography: The "Red River" is flowing the wrong direction! If the herd is crossing from south to north, the water should be flowing from west to east, or from the left side of the screen to the right.
* Miscellaneous: Dunson's final design for the ranch's brand includes "D" for Dunson, but "M" for Matthew - why not "G" for Garth?
* Anachronisms: Film set in 1865, but using Model 1892 Winchesters to shoot Indians when they attack the wagon train.
Elgin, Arizona, USA
Lil' Boquillas Ranch, Fairbank, Arizona, USA
Nogales, Sonora, Mexico
San Pedro River, Arizona, USA
Warner Brothers-The Lot - 1041 N. Formosa Avenue, West Hollywood, California, USA (studio)
Tucson, Arizona, USA
Whetstone Mountains, Arizona, USA