The titular 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.
When billionaire Jean-Marc Clement learns that he is to be satirized in an off-Broadway revue, he passes himself off as an actor playing him in order to get closer to the beautiful star of the show, Amanda Dell.
Showgirls Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw travel to Paris, pursued by a private detective hired by the suspicious father of Lorelei's fiancé, as well as a rich, enamored old man and many other doting admirers.
Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.
Matt Calder, who lives on a remote farm with his young son Mark, helps two unexpected visitors who lose control of their raft on the nearby river. Harry Weston is a gambler by profession and he is racing to the nearest town to register a mining claim he has won in a poker game. His attractive wife Kay, a former saloon hall girl, is with him. When Calder refuses to let Weston have his only rifle and horse, he simply takes them leaving his wife behind. Unable to defend themselves against a likely Indian attack, Calder, his son and Kay Weston begin the treacherous journey down the river on the raft Weston left behind.Written by
Life is like this river,sometimes peaceful,sometimes wild.A "river" movie,before the "road movie" genre was invented,Otto Preminger's work remains extremely beautiful:an unusually inventive cinemascope which enhances the scenery :the raft tossed by the tides of misfortune,seems like a grain of sand in these deep valleys,these ancestral forests.
A story as linear as the river,which focuses on one of Preminger's favorite subjects:redemption (see "where the sidewalk ends","forever Amber").If someone does something wrong,Kay says ,it's because he's often compelled to do so.Mark,the young boy ,will understand ,and little did he know it would not be long !
The songs (the title track and "one silver dollar" ) are sumptuous,and add magic to this odyssey of redemption.And when Kay throws her high-heeled shoes in the dust,what a nice way to pick up the pieces!
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