709 Red River

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domino harvey
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709 Red River

#1 Post by domino harvey » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:42 pm

Red River

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No matter what genre he worked in, Howard Hawks played by his own rules, and never was this more evident than in his first western, the rowdy and whip-smart Red River. In it, John Wayne found one of his greatest roles, as an embittered, tyrannical Texas rancher whose tensions with his independent-minded adopted son—played by Montgomery Clift in a breakout performance—reach epic proportions during a cattle drive to Missouri. The film is based on a novel that dramatizes the real-life late nineteenth-century expeditions along the Chisholm Trail, but Hawks is less interested in historical accuracy than in tweaking the codes of masculinity that propel the myths of the American West. The unerringly macho Wayne and the neurotic, boyish Clift make for an improbably perfect pair, held aloft by a quick-witted, multilayered screenplay and Hawks’s formidable direction.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• New 2K digital restoration of the rarely presented original theatrical release version, the preferred cut of director Howard Hawks, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New 2K digital restoration of the longer, prerelease version of Red River, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
• New interview with filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich about Red River and the two versions
• New interview with critic Molly Haskell about Hawks and Red River
• New interview with film scholar Lee Clark Mitchell about the western genre
• Audio excerpts from a 1972 conversation between Hawks and Bogdanovich
• Audio excerpts from a 1970 interview with novelist and screenwriter Borden Chase
Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of Red River from 1949, featuring John Wayne, Joanne Dru, and Walter Brennan
• Trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and a 1991 interview with Hawks’s longtime editor Christian Nyby; a new paperback edition of Chase’s original novel, previously out of print

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Yojimbo
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Re: ??? Red River

#2 Post by Yojimbo » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:00 am

FOUR discs???? :shock:
Whatever could they contain?
Commentaries from Hawks and Duke?

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swo17
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Re: ??? Red River

#3 Post by swo17 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:43 am

Well, two cuts of the film, for starters. And presumably two of the discs are DVDs that duplicate content.

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Re: ??? Red River

#4 Post by Noiradelic » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:09 am

Yojimbo wrote:FOUR discs???? :shock:
Whatever could they contain?
Commentaries from Hawks and Duke?
That doesn't make sense -- commentaries would be on the film disc. They're interviews.

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SpiderBaby
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Re: ??? Red River

#5 Post by SpiderBaby » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:32 am

Yojimbo wrote:FOUR discs???? :shock:
Whatever could they contain?
Commentaries from Hawks and Duke?
dual format.

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sir_luke
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Re: ??? Red River

#6 Post by sir_luke » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:16 am

Well, four discs for dual format doesn't really make sense. What could fit on two Blu-Rays would take more than two DVDs, and one Blu-Ray's content wouldn't fill up three DVDs. Right?

Maybe it's a digital copy. :P

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tenia
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Re: ??? Red River

#7 Post by tenia » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:32 am

2 cuts (4h30 of movie), no seamless branching so 1 BD for each, and extras spread over them both.
Repeat for DVDs.

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hearthesilence
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Re: ??? Red River

#8 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:10 pm

I was going to go after the MoC version, preferring to save some money by buying what I believed to be the 'proper' cut of the film, but then I cam across Bogdanovich's piece on Red River (and My Darling Clementine), where he recalls asking Hawks about the different cuts. Hawks vehemently insisted in good detail that the narrated cut is his preferred cut while the preview cut (a.k.a. the "book version") was not.
Somehow, the slower, more portentous “book version” has been mistaken (because somewhat longer) as “the director’s cut” and presented erroneously that way. I specifically asked Hawks in the mid-70s why there were two versions. He answered (as published in my Who the Devil Made It): “The one with the book was the first cutting and it wasn’t any good. It’s slow—you had to stop and read it—and why any prints were made from that I don’t know...It was meant to be with narration, which shortened it and brought it closer to you because we had a very distinctive voice doing it.” I said, “So the version that was released in theatres with Brennan narrating was the final one.” To which Hawks replied, “Yes. God knows where the other one came from…"

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EddieLarkin
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Re: ??? Red River

#9 Post by EddieLarkin » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:34 pm

The MoC booklet has a note on the two versions of the film. Can anyone who has it post here what it says?

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Re: ??? Red River

#10 Post by The Doogster » Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:10 am

EddieLarkin wrote:The MoC booklet has a note on the two versions of the film. Can anyone who has it post here what it says?
The MoC is the "Book Version" of Red River. The booklet has a piece called The Two Versions by Peter Labuza:

"As is the case with a number of Howard Hawks Films, including Scarface and The Big Sleep, there are two versions of Hawks's Red River. They are known as the "Book Version" and the "Voice Version", which refers to the main difference between the two. In the Book Version, the film includes a number of intertitles of handwritten passages from a book entitled Early Tales of Texas. In the Voice Version, Walter Brennan's Groot provides a voiceover of the same material. The Book Version runs six and a half minutes longer; part of this comes from the longer amount of time the camera lingers on the pages of the book so viewers can read it, but there are other differences as well. The Voice Version trims a number of scenes down, notably Cherry's description of the beautiful woman who told him about the railroad in Abilene (who is strongly alluded to as Tess in Borden Chase's original short story). The Voice Version also has a slightly different score, which is much more instrumental and grandiose compared to the often more vocal but muted score of the Book Version. The other most notable difference between the two variations is the elongated final battle between Dunson and Matthew in the Book Version; the Voice Version eliminates some of Dunson's dialogue ("Then I'll make you draw.") and a number of shots of Matthew's steadfast eyes.

Hawks claims in his interview that the Book Version was the first cut of the film and the Voice Version was what was originally released in theatres in 1948. Some scholars note that the Voice Version may have been created after Howard Hughes demanded cuts to the finale because of its similarity to the ending Hawks wrote for The Outlaw. The Book Version, wrongly touted in 1984 as the "Restored Director's Cut", debuted on home video and became the now standard copy of the film that is readily available. Hawks claims he only saw this later version when it screened on television, and tells Peter Bogdanovich in his interview with him, "It was meant to be with narration." In his biography of Hawks, Todd McCarthy proposes that the Book Version may have been prepared for not just television but also foreign markets.

Critical opinion is divided on which version is better. Filmmaker and critic Dan Sallitt prefers the voiceover to the text, but notes other ambivlance: "I feel as if aspects of the climax are a little choppy and overedited in the short version...I also think that the scenes of Clift's anxiety at Wayne's approach, which are reduced in the short version, really help the film feel more like Hawks and less like Borden Chase." Bogdanovich and scholar John Belton refer the Voice Version, the latter noting that "its tone changes slightly" without the voiceover. On the other hand, film historian and scholar Gerald Mast argued the voice and text is simply a matter of taste, but the Book Version has the weaker ending because "the shorter duel eliminates essential narrative details."

It might seem curious to debate the official version of a film for viewing and study, like comparing the various versions of Shakespeare's Hamlet. While the differences are notable, the version presented here is the now more canonical Book Version, which has been better preserved and has been provided the best transfer. We recommend to viewers, however, to seek out the Voice Version as well, and make their own decision of what they prefer."

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EddieLarkin
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Re: ??? Red River

#11 Post by EddieLarkin » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:05 am

I was fearing they'd be arguing for the Book version, but it's good of them to acknowledge the theatrical version was Hawks' preferred and is worth seeking out (sorry to say MoC that I'll be doing just that by getting the Criterion over your release :|). It'll be interesting to see the difference in quality between the two versions on the upcoming Criterion.

Thanks for transcribing Doogster.

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kingofthejungle
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Re: ??? Red River

#12 Post by kingofthejungle » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:32 am

The MOC Blu-Ray was my first time experiencing Red River (I know, it's crazy), and after reading for years how great it was, I was disappointed with how slow (as opposed to relaxed or deliberate) it seemed. It's good to know Hawks felt the same way about the 'book' version. I'll have to double dip with the Criterion to see the preferred cut.

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Re: ??? Red River

#13 Post by feihong » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:47 pm

The preferred cut is really no more fast-paced.

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Re: ??? Red River

#14 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:02 pm

Yeah, unless that description from MoC is missing something, the changes seem pretty concentrated in spots, nothing that would impact the overall pacing.

I love Red River, and it's a masterpiece with flaws. Not enough to sink the film, but you just have to accept that they're there and Hawks himself will be the first to admit them. Personally, I don't think the pacing is a problem though. The main problems lie elsewhere.

For starters, Joanne Dru and John Ireland are not at their best - I think Hawks said that Dru wasn't a good dramatic actress at the time and Ireland didn't have it together during the shoot (I have a vague recollection of Hawks complaining that he was either drunk or high all the time, I forgot which). With Ireland, it had a bigger impact on the film because Hawks said he started to cut back on Ireland's role when it was obvious that he wasn't going to deliver. Not at the editing stage either, during the shoot Hawks would just drop some of his lines or pull his appearance altogether in scene after scene. Sucks that happened, but they're not central to the film.

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Re: ??? Red River

#15 Post by Jack Phillips » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:15 pm

hearthesilence wrote: With Ireland, it had a bigger impact on the film because Hawks said he started to cut back on Ireland's role when it was obvious that he wasn't going to deliver. Not at the editing stage either, during the shoot Hawks would just drop some of his lines or pull his appearance altogether in scene after scene.
Borden Chase has a different take on that, and since we're quoting from the MoC booklet . . . (an exchange between author/screenwriter Borden Chase and Jim Kitses (published originally in Film Comment, Winter 1970):
JK: In your script, Dunson is shot up by the John Ireland character, Cherry?

BC: Yes, when they’re approaching Abilene, that’s when Cherry decides to see what he can do for himself. His was a very big part.

JK: It’s cut down in the film as it stands.

BC: It was chopped completely. Duke called me one day and he said, “Will you come to lunch with me and Howard?” I said, “Sure.” I went over to the Derby or whatever it was, and Howard got up to go to the men’s room and Duke said, “We’re dumping Cherry Valance.” I said, “What do you mean?” “Well,” he said, “he’s fooling around with Howard’s girl,” I can’t remember her name, she’s married now. I said, “What the hell has that got to do with making a picture? I don’t care if he’s fooling around with the Virgin Mary, you’ve got a picture to make and the guy is good.” “Well,” he said, “look, he’s out. That’s it.” Well, when I saw it, I realized what they did. There’s one scene where Dunson says, “You’ll eat bread and you’ll drink water and you’ll finish this drive.” There was silence. Now Cherry Valance is supposed to be up front, and say, “I like what the man says.” He faces them, he’s a pretty big man. What Hawks did was put him in the back and dubbed in a weak voice that comes on and says, “I like what the man says.” And Wayne says, “Well, like it or not, that’s the way it is.” Talk about a crucifixion . . . that was it.
This led to further changes at the end of the picture (Chase's original ending was scrapped). And the rivalry developed early in the picture between Clift and Ireland is never satisfactorily resolved.

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hearthesilence
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Re: ??? Red River

#16 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:54 pm

HA, well, I was going by Hawks' story, so if Chase is right, then I guess the difference between the two shouldn't be a surprise.

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Re: ??? Red River

#17 Post by feihong » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:21 am

Personally, I like Ireland in the picture. But it's undeniable that Cherry Valance doesn't develop into any too serious a threat in the movie. I had always heard that Cary Grant was the actor Hawks had in mind for Cherry, and that Grant turned down the movie? It certainly never seems a slowly-paced picture to me.

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Re: ??? Red River

#18 Post by Iamspartacus » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:20 pm

So will this definitely not be a standard case?

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Re: ??? Red River

#19 Post by Roger_Thornhill » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:28 am

I was hoping that the second cut might have an alternate ending.
SpoilerShow
I always felt that either Wayne or Clift should've died at the end of the picture, but I know Hawks disliked that idea based on his interview with Bogdanovich. It's still a great Western and one of my personal favorites despite having never seen the 'voice over' version.

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Re: ??? Red River

#20 Post by Jack Phillips » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:04 pm

Roger_Thornhill wrote:I was hoping that the second cut might have an alternate ending.
SpoilerShow
I always felt that either Wayne or Clift should've died at the end of the picture, but I know Hawks disliked that idea based on his interview with Bogdanovich. It's still a great Western and one of my personal favorites despite having never seen the 'voice over' version.
Such an ending was never filmed, but Borden Chase's scripted ending provides something like what you're suggesting.

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Re: ??? Red River

#21 Post by kingofthejungle » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:53 pm

feihong wrote: It certainly never seems a slowly-paced picture to me.
I think my disappointment with the film may have been a misplaced expectations thing; it's so frequently compared to Ford that I was anticipating something very different. Hawks films don't always click with me on the first viewing, either - while I immediately loved *Scarface*, *Only Angels Have Wings*, and *Gentlemen Prefer Blondes*, I had to give *The Big Sleep* and *Rio Bravo* time to grow on me. Perhaps I'm just more attuned to the subtleties of Ford and Walsh than those of Hawks (whom I also admire greatly).

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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#22 Post by Drucker » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:18 pm

So there can be no confusion regarding Red River:
New 4K digital restoration of the rarely presented original theatrical release version, the preferred cut of director Howard Hawks, with monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray.
In addition to: 2K restoration of the longer version of Red River.

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domino harvey
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Re: 709 Red River

#23 Post by domino harvey » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:21 pm

The extras looked slim til I saw we are getting the book too! Been a long while since they've done that, nice!

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Ashirg
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Re: 709 Red River

#24 Post by Ashirg » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:26 pm

There is also More! listed, but I wonder if the audio is lossless. They usually say "uncompressed monaural soundtrack", but not for this title.

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Re: 709 Red River

#25 Post by giovannii84 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:47 pm

Hoping the More refers to the Lux radio broadcast & music/effects track on the MoC release

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