IMDb > Massacre River (1949)

Massacre River (1949) More at IMDbPro »


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Down 64% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Louis Stevens (original screenplay)
View company contact information for Massacre River on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
26 June 1949 (USA) See more »
Thrill-swept epic of a flaming frontier!
Two Cavalry Officers clash over the Colonel's Daughter at a remote outpost with Indian troubles. | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Strong emotions flare as Guy Madison flits between Cathy Downs and Carole Mathews See more (4 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Guy Madison ... Larry Knight

Rory Calhoun ... Phil Acton

Carole Mathews ... Laura Jordan

Cathy Downs ... Kitty Reid
Johnny Sands ... Randy Reid

Steve Brodie ... Burke Kimber
Art Baker ... Col. James Reid

Iron Eyes Cody ... Chief Yellowstone

Emory Parnell ... Sgt. Johanssen
Queenie Smith ... Mrs. Johanssen

Eddy Waller ... Joe (as Eddie Waller)
James Bush ... Eddie
John Holland ... Roberts

Douglas Fowley ... Simms
Harry Brown ... Piano Player

Kermit Maynard ... Scout
Gregg Barton ... Frank
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
J.W. Cody ... Walking Bear (uncredited)

Franklyn Farnum ... Army Officer at Dance (uncredited)
Sam Harris ... Army Officer at Dance (uncredited)

Ray Jones ... Barfly (uncredited)
Rory Mallinson ... Marshal Towne (uncredited)

Harold Miller ... Army Officer at Dance (uncredited)

Jason Robards Sr. ... Lawyer Johnstone (uncredited)
Henry Wills ... Colonel's Aide / Stage Guard (uncredited)

Directed by
John Rawlins 
Writing credits
Louis Stevens (original screenplay)

Otto Englander  additional dialogue (uncredited)
Harold Bell Wright  novel "When a Man's a Man" (uncredited)

Produced by
Julian Lesser .... producer
Frank Melford .... producer
Original Music by
John Leipold 
Lucien Moraweck 
Cinematography by
Jack MacKenzie 
Film Editing by
Richard Cahoon (supervising editor)
Art Direction by
Lucius O. Croxton 
Set Decoration by
John Sturtevant 
Costume Design by
Ann Peck (gowns)
Makeup Department
Gale McGarry .... hair stylist
Norbert A. Myles .... makeup artist (as Norbert Miles)
Production Management
Harry S. Franklin .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Clem Beauchamp .... assistant director
Bert Briskin .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Jean L. Speak .... sound
Special Effects by
Jack R. Glass .... special photographic effects
Phil Rawlins .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Morris Rosen .... camera movements
Charles Straumer .... camera movements
Morris Rosen .... grip (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Frank Beetson Jr. .... wardrobe: men (as Frank Beetson)
Editorial Department
William B. Murphy .... associate editor (as W.J. Murphy)
Music Department
Lud Gluskin .... musical director
Other crew
Henry J. Matchett .... military advisor (as Col. Henry J. Matchett U.S.A.)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
78 min
Black and White (Sepiatone)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:


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Strong emotions flare as Guy Madison flits between Cathy Downs and Carole Mathews, 12 August 2014
Author: msroz from United States

"Massacre River" is a noir western, not 100%, but quite a lot, enough to differentiate it from being a routine oater. Its darkness shows up in the story and in the black and white photography. The latter is at times really nice, with some beautifully done long shots in Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona. In one early and notable shot, a long line of Indians comes riding along a ridge and then down into a plain to a fort. The interior scene when Rory Calhoun comes gunning for Guy Madison is beautifully shadowed and composed as well. There is an escape sequence through canyons and plains, accompanied by appropriate thundering music, that reminds me of other noir westerns of that time.

The movie at first seems like any number of westerns with cavalry. Calhoun and Madison are buddies who are competing over the affections of Cathy Downs. She, it will be recalled, made an impression in "The Dark Corner" as the wife of Clifton Webb, and she was Clementine in "My Darling Clementine". She chooses Madison, who seems a bit overwhelmed. He later finds himself drawn to saloon owner Carole Mathews. You have got to give her credit for hanging in there and surviving in the tough movie business, first in many uncredited roles and then getting more meaty parts, of which this is one. She's partners with Steve Brodie, in his slimier persona. Mathews falls hard for Madison, thereby erasing some of her assumed checkered past.

In true noir fashion, we have a couple that wants to escape to a better life but find events going against them. These I will not reveal. But suffice to say that the light-heartedness at the movie's opening quite soon gives way to a dark story with several shootings, and not out in the sun good guys versus bad guys either. These are driven by stronger personal feelings.

Eventually, the story gives in to some standard but unpredictable outcomes. The movie comes off as being at best an average entry rating a 5 or a 6, but it has these points of interest. Surely, Guy Madison fans will want to see it, and so will Rory Calhoun fans. The two ladies also do a fine job, with Mathews having the larger role.

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