- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Once again, James Stewart as a conflicted and flawed character provides for great western entertainment. He is not some super hero western good guy in a white hat. He dares to play vulnerable and sometimes damaged characters. As a result, he is just like the rest of us--flawed. He brings real humanity to his character. And he finds redemption in the end--something we all seek. The story is creative and entertaining. Rock Hudson is actually quite good because he doesn't act like himself. In fact, it's possible to watch the film and not fully see him as the heart throb star of the 1950s. He could really act when he wanted to. The scenery is wonderful and the scenes on The River Queen paddle wheel are a glimpse into the past. It's also fun to see Frances Bavier (Aunt Bee from television) in this film. That woman was talented and I wish her part had been a bit larger. Otherwise, this is just a great western.
response to previous review
- kevin sellers
Good stuff on apples and snakes, Jeff! Amazing how cogent this guy is when he sticks to the movie and eschews the culture wars, huh?
A snake indeed bends ...
- Jeff Boston
but some find it harder to shed skin and break from the past. Based on the book "Bend of the Snake," this story set near the Snake River is the 2nd best film of the 5 Mann-Stewart collaborations, behind only "The Naked Spur" and ahead of 3 other good movies worth watching (Winchester '73, The Far Country, and The Man from Laramie). This is an intelligent film and about everything holds up well, and I'm sure it was too realistic for many people when released 65 years ago. I like how apples are brought up throughout the film, creating an apple-snake dynamic and what that unmistakably represents.
Couldn't be 1840s
- td collinns
Original review says that movie tales place in the 1840s, but the Kansas-Missouri border wars, mentioned often in the movie, took place the following decade. So you have to figure that movie is set in period from 1865-1870 or so, after the Civil War (which is never mentioned....strange).
bend of the river
- kevin sellers
First hour is real good, with the complicated relationship between James Stewart and Arthur Kennedy front and center. Kennedy, a great stage actor who I feel rarely got the film parts he merited, is excellent playing what is essentially Stewart's darker side. And Stewart, as he always is in the westerns he did with director Anthony Mann, where he quietly subverts his Mr. Smith cum Destry personae, is quite compelling. The problem with the film and what keeps it from greatness, in my opinion, is that the Stewart/Kennedy conflict is essentially wrapped up with thirty minutes still to go. The last half hour becomes a wearisome revenge orgy with Stewart killing members of Kennedy's gang offscreen and Kennedy becoming less and less credible as a complex human being, as he turns into a raving, snarling, conventional Bad Guy. 'Fraid the usually good screenwriter Borden Chase (of "Red River" fame) has to bear the main blame for this, just as he must be given credit for the fine, first 60 min. Mann's pacing and handling of action, however, is consistently good throughout, as is Hans Salter's music and Irving Glassberg's cinematography, which capturers the beauty of the Cascades without it being thrust in our face. As far as the acting beyond the two leads goes, it's a mixed bag. Rock Hudson, in one of his first performances, is decent, as is Jay C. Flippen as a moralistic pioneer. Julie Adams, however, as are most women in westerns, is a pretty face in search of a character while Stepin Fetchet looks like he wandered in from "Sun Shines Bright" and is wondering, as his employer keeps noting, how to get back to the Mississippi. Give it a solid B.
- Evelyn Danielle
What a great movie! Every character was interesting and you could relate to each one. Many surprising twists and turns to keep your interest throughout.
Bend of the River
A tight Western from the duo of director Mann and star Stewart. Stewart's past as an ex-Missouri raider is personified by Kennedy, a would-be victim of hanging, the two actors have great friction. The story about the conflicts between homesteaders and gold miners is compelling, but could've been more deep and explored. A good, solid, entertaining film. I give it a 3.5/5.
Good movie, Jimmy Stewart was just like John Wayne, always played the same role in the same way regardless, which I guess was what made them so beloved. Not a lot of acting going on by either though.
Bend of the River (1952)
I don't think Jimmy Stewart has ever made a bad film, and I particularly like his westerns. This is a fine western, it has depth, good characters and strong production.