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The River (1951)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 19 December 1951 (France)
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Three adolescent girls growing up in Bengal, India, learn their lessons in life after falling for an older American soldier.

Director:

Jean Renoir

Writers:

Rumer Godden (novel), Rumer Godden (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Nora Swinburne ... The Mother
Esmond Knight ... The Father
Arthur Shields ... Mr. John
Suprova Mukerjee Suprova Mukerjee ... Nan
Thomas E. Breen Thomas E. Breen ... Capt. John
Patricia Walters ... Harriet
Radha ... Melanie
Adrienne Corri ... Valerie
June Hillman June Hillman ... Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

Harriet, now an adult, narrates the story of her coming of age growing up as a British national and a daughter of a jute press manager in the Bengal region of India, they living in the big house on the banks of one of the holy rivers. At the time, she is the eldest of six siblings - five girls and one boy - with another on the way and with she being significantly older the rest of her siblings. As such, she spends much time with an honorary member of their family, a late teen - not quite an adult - named Valerie, also a British national and the daughter of the jute press owner. Another friend, who recently arrived home from her western schooling, is Melanie, the biracial daughter of British national Mr. John and his then deceased Hindu wife. Both Mr. John and Melanie realize her difficult position, straddling both the Hindi and western cultures. Their small world is shaken up with the arrival of Captain John, Mr. John's cousin and an American ex-military man who has one prosthetic leg... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Beauty...Mystery...Delightful Humor... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | UK | India | USA

Language:

English | Bengali

Release Date:

19 December 1951 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The River See more »

Filming Locations:

Ganges River, India See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Kenneth McEldowney, a successful florist and real estate agent in Los Angeles, complained to his wife, an MGM publicist, about one of her studio's films, she dared him to do better. So he sold their home and floral shops, and from 1947 to 1951 worked to produce this film. It opened in New York to a record 34-week run at reserved-seat prices and was on several ten-best movie lists in 1951. McEldowney then returned to real estate and never made another movie. See more »

Goofs

(at around 36 mins) A cigarette appears from nowhere. See more »

Quotes

Harriet: Oh, I do hope I'm loved as much as Cleopatra.
Melanie: I shouldn't liked to be loved out loud like Cleopatra.
Harriet: I should! The louder the better. I want everyone to know about me and I want to be loved by hundreds of men.
Melanie: One person's love is enough for one person.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Dick Cavett Show with Mel Brooks (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Spellbinding, magnificent
18 April 2005 | by luciferjohnsonSee all my reviews

A really glorious, spellbinding movie. Filmed in Bengal, India, on the Ganges, it captures the essence of India, the timeless quality of life on the Ganges, without being patronizing.

This is a coming of age movie about three teenage girls, two British and one Anglo-Indian, and how their lives are affected by the arrival of a one-legged American war veteran. It's very easy to fall into sentimentality in a movie like this, but Renoir avoids this obvious pitfall. Though I have to say, I found this film very moving.

It helps that this movie is filmed in Technicolor, and is one of the best uses of Technicolor of that era.

Some of the performers were amateurs, including the actor who played the veteran and some of the children, but overall the performances are outstanding. A fine, low-key performance by Esmond Knight. This was the only film for Patricia Walters, who played Harriet, and Thomas Breen, the war veteran who played Captain Jack, never made any other movies. Watch for Arthur Shields, the brilliant Irish actor, as father of Nan.


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