Wild River


Action / Drama / History / Romance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh92%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright84%
IMDb Rating7.5105564

based on novel or book1930sriverfloodingdam

Plot summary

Uploaded by: OTTO


Top cast

Bruce Dern Photo
Bruce Dern as Jack Roper
Barbara Loden Photo
Barbara Loden as Betty Jackson
Pat Hingle Photo
Pat Hingle as Narrator
Jo Van Fleet Photo
Jo Van Fleet as Ella Garth
815.53 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 50 min
P/S 0 / 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MartinHafer9 / 10

Probably not a film that played well in the South!

Years ago, I tried watching "Wild River" but quickly lost interest. After all, the plot is amazingly simply....a man from the Tennessee Valley Authority is trying to convince a recalcitrant old woman to move off her land before the new dam floods her out. However, in hindsight, I was way too quick to dismiss the film...and there is much, much more to the story than this.

In addition to Chuck Grover (Montgomery Clift) trying to convince the woman (Jo Van Fleet) to move, many other issues come up. One is the romance between him and Carol (Lee Remick). The other is the racial prejudices dominant in this era in the Tennessee Valley as well as the anti-federal government sentiments. Together, they weave a very interesting portrait of a bygone era....made all the better by nice acting (particularly by Remick) and top notch direction. All in all, I am very glad I gave this one another try...it's well worth seeing.

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird9 / 10

River of emotion

The three main reasons for wanting to see 'Wild River' were for a story that sounded incredibly powerful on paper, a talented cast (including Montgomery Clift post-accident) and that it was directed by Elia Kazan. Not to mention how positively it has been received by many. The story could have been soapy and over-baked, but the potential for it to have a big emotional punch was massive. Clift, Lee Remick and Jo Van Fleet were great in other things and Kazan was a truly fine and influential director.

One that may have had the odd not so great/good film (i.e. 'Sea of Grass'),like most directors, but his best work (that included 'On the Waterfront' and 'A Streetcar Named Desire) were masterpieces and even lesser work was better than the lesser work of a lot of directors. As cliched as that sounds. 'Wild River' may not be one of his all-time greatest or his most important. It is though incredibly powerful and near-uniformally fantastic, that it was a commercial failure at the time apparently is hard to fathom. As is that it is not better known, though it is brilliant that many hold it in very high regard.

'Wild River' could have developed its main relationship a little more, as it didn't quite feel fully fleshed out or smoulder enough. Though it is played absolutely beautifully and with intensity and poignancy.

Clift though is wonderful here and gives a contender for his best later years performance, in some of his later performances one can tell how much the accident had more than understandably affected him and how he had not fully recovered but not here. Remick is sympathetic and very touching. The best performance though comes from the richly layered powerhouse that is Van Fleet, that she wasn't even nominated for an Oscar here (when her performance is for me even better than the performance that garnered her a nomination, the excellent 'East of Eden') is one of the biggest mistakes the Academy ever made in my view.

Kazan directs very effectively and one can see what his appeal was and why he was so influential from watching the film, even if other films of his did it even better. His direction of actors and how they interact and how he managed throughout his career to do wonders with getting such great performances from so many actors (including those that didn't always impress elsewhere) are here in 'Wild River'. It is a very beautifully made and shot film, with a lot of atmospheric lighting. The music score is neither too constant or over-bearing, nothing iconic but it fits the film's atmosphere expertly.

In terms of writing, 'Wild River' is very intelligently written without resorting to over-wordy rambling or over-bubbled soap. The story is deliberate but never dull, again it is intelligent story-telling and also very moving. Will admit to crying and getting goosebumps, have not felt that about every recently seen film.

To conclude, absolutely wonderful. 9/10

Reviewed by bkoganbing10 / 10

An Enduring Legacy Of The New Deal

According to Robert LaGuardia's biography of Montgomery Clift, director Elia Kazan got the germ of the idea for Wild River while working temporarily for the Department of Agriculture during the New Deal years. He saw how the creation of these government agencies changed American life and waited for about 20 years before finally getting to do his New Deal film.

The agency he chose was one that has lasted and changed the lives of people in about seven states that the Tennessee River and tributaries flow through. The Tennessee Valley Authority was one of the great achievements of the Roosevelt administration bringing cheap hydroelectric power to a region that private companies would not service because it wasn't profitable. The dams on the tributary rivers and on the Tennessee itself became part of a whole system that changed everyone's lives in the region for the better.

Well, almost everyone and that's what the story of Wild River is all about. A family named Garth headed by matriarch Jo Van Fleet lives and farms on an island in the river which will be flooded over when the dams are finished. TVA administrator Monty Clift is sent to deal with the situation, but also gets personally involved with Van Fleet's grand daughter Lee Remick.

The film really belongs to Van Fleet. You'll not forget her portrayal of an aged and stern pioneer farm woman who is just fighting for the place that's been home all her life. In my opinion Kazan got just as good a performance out of Jo Van Fleet maybe even better than the one she got an Oscar for in East Of Eden. In fact the whole film is sadly overlooked when judging Elia Kazan's work. I think it's a masterpiece.

As for Clift, Kazan originally wanted Marlon Brando, but when Brando proved unavailable he hired Clift who was becoming more available simply because of his unreliability due to his increased drinking. While he didn't stay clean and sober for the shoot, he respected Kazan and the film enough to be letter perfect on his days before the camera. Monty was on a sad downward spiral in his life though you would not know it from this film, the one preceding it Suddenly Last Summer and the one following it, Judgment At Nuremberg for which he got an Oscar nomination. He was one of the greatest screen actors there ever was, most of his work is classic. Ironically Marlon Brando would be hired when Clift died in 1966 for the starring role in Reflections Of A Golden Eye.

Kazan has a real feel for the times in Wild River. It's not only good entertainment, but ought to be assigned viewing by political science professors who want to demonstrate the impact of the New Deal in American life during that period.

And this review is dedicated to a man who worked for over 15 years to get the Tennessee Valley Authority through Congress. Senator George W. Norris was one of the giants of the US Senate, his is a career for the most part that ought to be studied and emulated. We could use a lot more like him today in government.

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