Newest Reviews
Man Standing Next, The
Rock, Paper and Scissors
Batman: The Long Halloween Part One
Salaam Bombay!
Boss Level
My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To
Edge of the World
Treasure City
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Hands of Orlac, The
Death has Blue Eyes
Kala Azar
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Newest Articles
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
  Rio Grande Stop The Cavalry
Year: 1950
Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Ben Johnson, Claude Jarman Jr, Harry Carey Jr, Chill Wills, J. Carroll Naish, Victor McLaglen, Grant Withers, Peter Ortiz, Steve Pendleton, Karolyn Grimes, Alberto Morin, Stan Jones, Fred Kennedy
Genre: WesternBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: The Rio Grande is where Lieutenant Colonel Kirby Yorke (John Wayne) of the United States Army is in charge of a collection of troops, since now the Civil War is over, the matter of the Apaches and other Native tribes who continue to pose problems for the settlers must be hemmed in - with violence if necessary. Indeed, today Yorke and his men return from a bruising encounter with the Apache and try to collect their thoughts and ponder their next move, but then he has more personal news when he hears his teenage son Jeff (Claude Jarman Jr) has failed his exams at West Point. However, despite not having seen him since he was a baby, Yorke is about to meet the boy yet again...

Rio Grande was the final entry in director John Ford's so-called Cavalry Trilogy, preceded by the better regarded Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and essentially made quickly and cheaply as a favour to its studio Republic so Ford could be allowed to make his pet project, The Quiet Man, which was his next feature. A man of wild contradictions, Ford was always purposefully difficult to pin down on what he was actually thinking in any given film he made, never mind his private life, so it is tough to tell whether he took this a lot less seriously than his other Westerns or whether this dismissive attitude was part of his defence mechanisms in not getting to close to anyone.

Least of all any film critics or writers who wanted to analyse his work, something he always disdained to the point of aggressive self-deprecation, if such a thing was possible, and if it was, Ford was the man to do it. Yet as with the others in the Trilogy that he helmed, it quickly picked up a following, especially among buffs keen to elevate him as the ultimate Golden Age of Hollywood director, though he certainly had some competition for that crown, many of them a lot happier to be analysed after the fact, to boot. In the twenty-first century, his finest efforts retain their lofty status among the true aficionados, but given his preferred genre was the Western, he is not as recognisable.

Not Ford's fault, of course, it's just that Westerns faded away from their previous prominence in the nineteen-seventies as revisionism, which he was by no means averse to, took hold and the tropes of the genre moved into action and science fiction to prosper elsewhere. Also, star John Wayne has only become a more divisive figure as the years have gone by, and he was pretty forward about espousing his politics while he was alive, so decades later is representative of arch-conservatism and many less fervently political classic film fans have to make excuses for liking his work, which in the polarised climate of the new millennium often wasn't worth the exertion. Here, if not as iconic as his fighter in The Quiet Man, you can nevertheless see the star quality that made him ideal to portray leaders of men.

Maureen O'Hara was there too, playing his wife Kathleen who Yorke has been estranged from but in those divorce-resistant days will be won back over before the end of the movie, though as she was in her twenties at the time she didn't convince as Jarman's mother. She was as flavourful as ever, however, making something forceful out of what could have been wishy-washy in her first film with Wayne: his best screen romantic partner, it is widely agreed. This was practically a musical, with characters frequently bursting into song - vocal group The Sons of the Pioneers had their own separate credit - though threatened to become grim in the last act when the troops' children are captured by the Apache. Ford's stock players such as Ben Johnson and Victor McLaglen were present too, and if the best you could say about Rio Grande is that it was "typical", for addicts of Westerns there was much to appreciate, if not convert the unconvinced, with a family versus duty theme for resonance. Music by Victor Young.

[Eureka release this title on Blu-ray with the following features:

Limited Edition O-Card (First print run only)
1080p presentation on Blu-ray, from a new transfer completed by Paramount s preservation department in 2019
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Brand new and exclusive feature-length audio commentary by western authority Stephen Prince
Scene specific audio commentary with Maureen O'Hara
A video essay on the film by John Ford expert and scholar Tag Gallagher
The Making of Rio Grande archival featurette
Along the Rio Grande with Maureen O'Hara archival documentary
Theatrical trailer
PLUS: a collector's booklet featuring a new essay by western expert Howard Hughes; a new essay by film writer Phil Hoad; transcript of an interview with John Ford; excerpts from a conversation with Harry Carey, Jr.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 766 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: