• For our release of Howard Hawks’s Red River, we asked the legendary director and writer Peter Bogdanovich to share his thoughts on the film, which he ranks as one of his favorites. (He once called it “the best epic western ever made.”) Among many topics, he covers John Wayne’s performance, discussing the importance of the role in the Duke’s career. In this excerpt, he says it was the first time this Hollywood icon played a character who wasn’t wholly likeable, paving the way for other complex parts that walked the line between hero and villain.

3 comments

  • By greta goss
    July 14, 2014
    03:41 PM

    It's surprising that eight years passed between "Red River" in 1948 and "The Searchers" in 1956; since both films are celebrated on every short list of John Wayne's best work. And while Peter Bogdanavich says this was the first time Wayne played a mean anti-hero against type, I disagree. The first time was in "Red River." I also find "Red River" a far more challenging role for Wayne because he was up against the seemingly effortless, natural acting style of the new guy in town, Montgomery Clift. As actors, they're dueling banjos -- perfect, by the way for the plot and their characters, right to the end.
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    • By Jeremy
      July 18, 2014
      05:05 AM

      Isn't Bogdanavich saying that Red River was the first time he played an unlikeable character?
  • By g
    August 01, 2014
    07:24 PM

    Love the criterion quality on Red River and J.W. does a great job of making you hate his character cause I hate his character so much that I'd rather watch my blue ray of The Searchers ---Equally good acting by J.W and incredible cinematography and directing portraying a tough customer but one that's not super abrasive to the viewer.------- Next Notch down which I feel has almost the perfect balance is My Favorite ----The man who shot liberty valance ---I really like the feel of that one. Good acting ,characters with principles and compassion, well told little story .
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