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Bend of the River back to product details

A Genre High-Water Mark?
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written by talltale August 29, 2006 - 5:06 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
What a wonderful, intelligent time you'll have watching (or revisiting) BEND OF THE RIVER, the Anthony Mann/James Stewart 1952 western that may approach some sort of high-water mark in the genre--certainly so far as good old-fashioned scenic western adventure goes. This one has a lynching, Indians (that initial arrow is quite the little shocker), a wagon train, gold, a riverboat, plenty of action, early Rock Hudson plus Stepin Fetchit and Francis Bavier, interesting characters and the kind of rock-solid economic/social/morality questions that this genre seems able to handle better than any other.

Coming in at the same short length as the following year's "Naked Spur," "Bend" is as big and encompassing as "Spur" is circumspect and small. Many of the people are actually kind to each other and as trusting as possible under some interestingly changeable circumstances. The cast--including Stewart, Julie Adams, a fine Arthur Kennedy and Jay C. Flippen--does sterling work, and the movie is not marred by the (typical for the 50s) heavy-handed musical score that plagues "Spur." This one's a treat that maybe even younger movie-watchers might find themselves surprised to be enjoying. It holds up very nicely indeed, and even offers an intelligent alternative to everyone's favorite bit of cracker-barrel philosophy about the "bad apple." (Oh, yes, and the DVD transfer here beats by a mile the one for the just-released "Spur.")

oh, you'll see me...
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written by cammelltoe August 14, 2003 - 2:22 PM PDT
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Let's face it. The western has gone the way of the dodo long ago, no matter what kevin costner would have you believe this summer. Luckily we have this fine western to remember the glory days of the genre. Anthony Mann was an exquisite craftsman of violence and betrayal and for my money comprable to the more celebrated John Ford or Howard Hawks, at least in terms of westerns. And Jimmy Stewart....Jimmy Stewart, of Harvey and numerous Frank Capra movies, spitting out such gems as "law? What law?!" Shot in gloriously artifical technicolor, in a fine transfer, (un)fortunately devoid of any extras. A cherub-cheeked rock hudson is along for the ride. Lost a few points for somewhat shady racial/historical cariactures--- like marauding indian killers and stepin fetchit. The story-telling is tight, the stewart is nasty and the sentimentatility is low. A great double bill with Hawks' Red River.

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(Average 7.33)
27 Votes
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