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, which is based on a real-life late nineteenth-century expedition. Yet 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.
Includes both the theatrical and extended versions of the film
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 western scholar Lee Clark Mitchell about western genre literature
Audio excerpts of a 1972 conversation between Hawks and Bogdanovich
Excerpts from a 1970 audio interview with novelist and screenwriter Borden Chase