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Otto Preminger
Robert Mitchum, Marilyn Monroe, Rory Calhoun
Frank Fenton


Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby 4.0
Spanish Dolby 1.0
French DTS 5.1
Castillian Dolby 1.0
German DTS 5.1
Italian Dolby 2.0
Russian DTS 5.1
Thai Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 7/31/2012

• Trailers


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River of No Return [Blu-Ray] (1954)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 9, 2019)

When confronted with the sight of Marilyn Monroe in the 1954 Western River of No Return, I immediately flashed back to a different film: 1956’s Bus Stop. No, that flick wasn’t a Western, but it did feature a cowboy, which led to my connection. I didn’t like Bus Stop, so despite the lack of any true similarities it shared with Return, I must admit I didn’t look forward to my screening of the latter.

As it happened, the two movies actually had more in common than I expected, mainly due to Monroe’s role. In both flicks, she played barroom singers of potentially loose morals. A rugged cowboy then comes along to rescue her and make her an upstanding sort.

In Return, Monroe plays Kay, the wife of sleazy gold prospector Harry Weston (Rory Calhoun). She views him as a ticket out of her seedy situation, and when he finds a big lode, they plan to stake his claim and live happily ever after.

However, events transpire to send things off course, and then run into Matt Calder (Robert Mitchum), a farmer who recently got out of prison. He killed a man to defend a friend, and he now returns to be with his young son Mark (Tommy Rettig).

In desperate need of transportation and protection, Weston steals a horse and a gun from Calder. This leaves them unprotected against the local Indians, so they have to split to survive.

Calder also wants to go after Weston, so the threesome takes a chance and proceeds on a raft down a turbulent river. There they get to know each other and also learn more about themselves and their behavior.

Overall, Return seems like a pretty average Western. Frankly, though I just watched it four days ago, I find it hard to remember much about it. The movie does little wrong, but it also fails to provide any sparks or energy.

Some of that stems from the bland relationship between the leads. From minute one, it seems inevitable that Kay will lose Weston and hook up with Calder. The only question revolves around the way in which this relationship will evolve.

Like many movie couples, the two appear to be total opposites at the start, and they bicker frequently. Of course, they slowly start to develop respect for each other as we move toward their preordained pairing.

I won’t quibble too much about the blandness of this concept, but the lack of chemistry between Mitchum and Monroe seems problematic. They simply don’t synch well together, so the inevitability of their relationship appears due to movie convention more than any form of connection.

Otherwise, River of No Return provides a competent and sporadically engaging Western but nothing more. Nothing about it seems to elevate the genre or allow the actors to stand out from the crowd. Were it not for the presence of Monroe and Mitchum, I think this one would have vanished from sight years ago.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus D-

River of No Return appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.55:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image held up well over the decades.

For the most part, sharpness appeared very good. A few wide shots betrayed some modest softness, but those instances occurred infrequently. Otherwise, the movie seemed nicely crisp and well defined.

Jagged edges and moiré effects caused no concerns, and the movie lacked edge haloes. In addition, print flaws remained absent.

Colors seemed terrific. The movie used the lush and vibrant tones of Technicolor to good advantage, as it consistently presented a lovely palette. The colors looked bright and vivid throughout the film.

Black levels also appeared deep and dense, while shadow detail seemed clear and appropriately opaque. Overall, this was a pretty terrific presentation.

I thought the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of River of No Return seemed more than fine for its age. The soundfield worked fairly well for the most part, as it demonstrated good spread, with some nice localized speech as well.

Effects created a nice sense of atmosphere and ambience, and music offered a reasonable stereo presence. The surrounds also kicked in with some light elements at times, but the track remained fairly heavily anchored in the front, as the surrounds remained passive partners.

Audio quality showed its age but seemed fine. Music appeared fairly bright and vivid, and some Indian drumming actually manifested good depth. Effects appeared clean and acceptably well defined considering the age of the film.

Speech seemed a little reedy but remained positive given the age of the source, and no hiss or other defects marred the presentation. This became a well above-average mix for its age.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Audio was better localized and smoother, while visuals seemed tighter and more vivid. Expect a nice upgrade here.

In terms of extras, we get Trailers. We find an ad for River itself as well as promos for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven Year Itch and There’s No Business Like Show Business.

River of No Return feels like one of Marilyn Monroe’s more forgettable efforts, as the movie provides a very average Western that suffers from few obvious failings. It simply never manages to become anything terribly interesting or provocative. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and appealing audio but it lacks supplements. This ends up as a strong presentation for a dull movie

To rate this film, visit the original review of RIVER OF NO RETURN

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