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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

Renoir told Adrienne Corri that she had spoiled a take by moving her eyes twice instead of once. She later said that she "had no idea that such a small thing could mean so much". See more »

Goofs

The position of Captain John's hand changes when he is on the ground (at around 59 mins). See more »

Quotes

Narration: All wrapped up in Hoppity, her rabbit, was little Victoria.
Harriet: Victoria, what are you doing to Hoppity?
Victoria: Hoppity is my baby. He's just being born.
Harriet: But, you had it born last week?
Victoria: Babies can be born again and again, can't they.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in King Lear (1987) 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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