The title river unites a farmer recently released from prison, his young son, and an ambitious saloon singer. In order to survive, each must be purged of anger, and each must learn to understand and care for the others.
Sergeant "Hap" Doan, heartbroken that the Nineteenth Cavalry, in which he has served for so many years, is to be mechanized and replenished with twenty recent draftees, goes on a drinking ... See full summary »
First one needs to remember this film was made DURING the war. Anti Japanese resentment following Pearl Harbor and things like the Bataan Death March were running high. And make no mistake, this film is pretty heavy on the anti Japanese message.
But that is also one of the things that makes it interesting. It is a glimpse into how people at the time were actually thinking. And while the "dirty japs" were portrayed as squinty, murdering savages we must remember that at the time it wasn't a completely unfair criticism.
The film is also unique in that it has a light "comedy" aspect to it. Wallace Beery manages something like an Archie Bunker quality. Probably much needed comic relief given that the news from the war was not always uplifting.
But the final thing one needs to keep in mind is the purpose of this film and ones like it. It was designed to unify the nation against a common enemy. And that is how wars are won. And if the worst thing that happens is our enemies are portrayed in a negative light, well that is hardly the worst thing that happens during wars.
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