Bucknell Film/Media Film Series Presents: Red River

Brandon Ponzo, Contributing Writer

The feature shown on Sept. 8 in the Film/Media Series at the Campus Theatre was the film “Red River,” directed and produced by Howard Hawks. The film followed John Wayne in this Western action thriller on his quest to conquer Texas and start up his own cattle ranch. The audience watched as the trio, a cattleman named Thomas Dunson played by Wayne, Nadine Groot played by Walter Brennan, and Matthew Garth played by Montgomery Clift, steal, threaten and hunt down land that is not rightfully theirs. Jam-packed with old Western duels, romance, friendship and heroism, this movie did not disappoint.

As both a hero and a villain, Wayne’s roll in this movie is unsurpassed by any other in the cowboy genre. The conflict of Dunson is evident throughout—does he stay in his small town with his “boy with a cow and man with a bull” attitude and risk going bankrupt, or does he pick up his life and move north into the unknown potential riches?

As if this movie didn’t have enough controversy, the adventure of the film’s reoccurring silver bracelet added even more interest. Dunson initially gives the bracelet to his love Fen, but later it ends up on an enemy Indian’s wrist. Dunson then gives it to Garth who gives it to his love. This bracelet actually ends up tracking shifting emotional attitudes in the film.

Howard Hawk really knows how to set the mood in this movie. He successfully brews an ominous atmosphere on the night of the stampede with silence, the restlessness of the cattle, and lowered voices. Again he sets up Garth’s nervousness during a night of thick fog, when every shadow could be Dunson coming to kill him.

Dunson and his band of outlaws looking for their way in the world most definitely left viewers at the edge of their seats. You can check out the Film/Media Series’s next thriller of a movie, “Western,” at 7 p.m. on Sept. 15 at at the Campus Theatre.

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