Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Movies I Love: Wild River

WILD RIVER – what a blissful way to spend a rainy afternoon, re-watching Kazan’s 1960 WILD RIVER – it is so perfect and involving one loses track of time, I would not change a frame of it. Despite having the Region 2 dvd I had not seen this since its release when I was about 12 and it made such a vivid impression that it stayed with me as one of my favourite films, but I never actually re-saw it until now. Clift is quite animated here, perhaps Kazan had better rapport with him than Huston for his next two (THE MISFITS, and FREUD which I really must steel myself to see). He is the Tennessee Valley Authority man who arrives to oversee the flooding of an island and the removal of the owners before the land is flooded to harness the river.

The revelations here though are Lee Remick and Jo Van Fleet. Lee is utterly spellbinding in every scene as her emotionally stunted widow comes back to life, she and Clift are such a perfect team. Then there is Jo Van Fleet, 45 playing 90 as the old Ella Garth. There should have been at least nominations for them. The plot is dreamlike and takes it’s time as we get used to the TVA and the locals (and the thorny subject of equal pay for black and white) and Ella’s island and her stubbornness in not wanting to leave her land. It has to be my favourite Kazan [I have seen EAST OF EDEN too many times]. Bruce Dern is an uncredited extra and that 1930s rural poverty is so tangible it permeates everything. The poster below makes it look like an actioner, but it is mainly a quiet, reflective film. I certainly won't leave it so long to visit this again and again.

PLUS: Some photos from the hard-to-see-now THE RUNNING MAN, Carol Reed's thriller from 1963 - it's nice to look at as Lee and Laurence Harvey carry out their insurance scam, hiding in Spain (before all those tourists arrived) as insurance man Alan Bates turns up - does he suspect them or is he just interested in Lee? Bates and Remick are a very attractive pair here.

More Movies I Love soon: OBSESSION, JOHNNY GUITAR, A STAR IS BORN, THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT, A LETTER TO 3 WIVES etc. and People We Love: Madeline Kahn and others ...

1 comment:

  1. Wild River is the best movie I've got on Bluray, absolutely love it.