7.5/10
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The River (1951)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 19 December 1951 (France)
Trailer
2:35 | Trailer
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 »
Reviews
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 3 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 Tripp ... Narrator (voice) (as June Hillman)
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Storyline

Harriet, now an adult, narrates the story of her coming of age, growing up as a British national and as 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 one on the way and with her being significantly older than 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 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 ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Motion Picture Masterpiece 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 »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$53,357
See more on IMDbPro »

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

This is one of Martin Scorsese's favorite films. 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

References The River (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

 
India through the Lens of 3 teenage Girls!
6 October 2017 | by jessicacoco2005See all my reviews

As the day evolves into night; night into day; life into death; death into life all in a circle so does the waters of the river flow around the Earth in a circle- transient, but everlasting.

The film is visually beautiful, magical, and literally poetic in parts by the stories and poetry recited in it. On the surface it appears as a coming of age story of 3 teenage girls in love with a disabled visiting American war veteran, but underneath it is something more: a story about the transience of youth and an ode, a love song to India; an idealized India that is of the 1920's as seen through the eyes of its colonizers, the British, who have fallen in love with it. As such we see no images of poverty and exploitation. In fact, we rarely get to know the Natives as individuals, especially as the story line is centered around British and American characters. Yet, still the film is worthwhile to see, as it provides a fascinating glimpse into India; of its people, superstitions, religion, and way of life. The film has one major flaw hindering a 10 star review and that is lack of character development. Under Bergman, this film could have been a masterpiece. Sadly, the characters never seem to emerge into truly 3-D individuals; preventing us from understanding what they feel and feeling what they feel. Character development needs time and I have little doubt that Renoir was restricted by time constraints imposed by Hollywood. Nevertheless a film worth seeing.


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