Contrary to somebody's viewpoint, this is NOT a western from the 1940s. It was made in 1952.
Reviewers calls it "old-fashioned" and, regrettably, yeah, it is, and has been for about 25 years. Didn't used to be, though. Used to be ahead of its time. A bit of explanation:
Until the early 1950s, about 80% of westerns made were (by today's attitudes and story-telling standards) fairly ridiculous and cliched. This one wasn't--but half a century later, it's become that anyway.
It's sad, in a way, because The director, Anthony Mann, and his star, Jimmy Stewart, attempted what hardly anybody had attempted: to give real depth to the central character--and some others--and increased story-telling realism. The two men made a number of westerns, the best of which, both today and when it was made (1953) is The Naked Spur.
This one: Good on-location Oregon cinematography helps, and there's some depth to Stewart's secret-past character. But the Indian attack stuff? Ridiculous. There's more silliness, too, with what they used to call the "comedy relief" character, a yassuh, aww-shucks black stereotype provided by a once well-known African-American actor with the screen name, Stepin Fetchit. No kidding.
I tried fast-forward with the audio off, but still couldn't finish watching it. Things, people, attitudes change. Old movies don't. Felt the same way about Black Narcissus a couple of weeks ago. Film historians and critics raved--and I remember I was quite fascinated when I first saw it...about 25 years ago. Two weeks ago? Couldn't finish it, either.
I liked this DVD. If you like the old fashioned western movies from the 1940's you will enjoy this movie. It is slow moving. The acting is high quality. The story is strong.
Really enjoyable Western- James Stewart actually made quite a few Westerns ( many of them worth watching if you're a fan of the genre ), and a number of them with noted director Anthony Mann.
Jimmy Stewart in "Bend of the River" goes to town to help some settlers go west. He is taking their money and ordering what he needs. What follows is an amazing story, that probably did occur to many a settler. Jimmy Stewart has no other choice in "Bend in the River" but to get revenge. He plays it tough with the help of Arthur Kennedy, Harry Morgan and Rock Hudson. The Director is Anthony Mann and he would use all of the above actors in other westerns he would make later. Once you have a winning formula, why break it up? This is one of Jimmy Stewarts best westerns
A man helping a group of settlers head west befriends a cattle theif about to be lynched. The problems get worse as they encounter hostile indian tribes and hostile gold miners. The story moves well and there is a surprising amount of action and comedy woven in. No shortage of gun fights and killing. i.e. a good old fashioned western so be warned.
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