Monday, March 28, 2011
River of No Return. C
River of No Return is aesthetically pleasant, functioning as a grand and beautiful Western thanks to some fine locations and a strong restoration that captures the scenic colors nicely. But there are plenty of Westerns that look nice and that tell good stories, too. Otto Preminger's misfire is not one them. This is an adventure tale that really only seems focused on Marilyn Monroe's body (generally you don't see females wearing tight jeans in Westerns), her hair (it's often worn long, whereas Western ladies almost always had it tied up) and her voice (there are far too many musical numbers in which Monroe shows off her decent voice). She's beautiful, so if you're really in the mood to goggle at her, then this movie's for you. One could say the movie is about her, but the story also concerns a father, played by Robert Mitchum, and his plucky young son Mark. Because of indians and a gold-hungry young gambler, Monroe, Mitchum, and Mark find themselves on a raft going down "the river of no return" in order to stay alive and get some much needed revenge. This is a film that's primarily concerned with lush settings, action scenes on the rapids, and Marilyn Monroe. It focuses on these particulars to an extent where it doesn't really deserve the somewhat serious, Bicycle Thief-inspired father-son relationship that sneaks its way into the narrative in all its cheesy glory. If you're seeking a thrill-filled adventure, this isn't the one. It never really gets exciting like it could have, and everything else in the film is either a retread of other Westerns or an excuse for scenic images and showing off Monroe.