Wild River

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"The wild language…the wild hungers…the wild furies!"
  • Approved
  • 1960
  • 1 hr 50 min
  • 7.5  (6,008)

In the movie Wild River, Montgomery Clift plays Chuck Glover, a government official sent to Tennessee to convince the last remaining holdout living alongside the Cumberland River to vacate her land so that the Tennessee Valley Authority can create a dam project, which would bring electricity to the people in the region. The woman in question is Ella Garth, played by Jo Van Fleet. Garth is a cantankerous old woman who steadfastly refuses to move, despite offers of compensation for her land.

Glover arrives in town, expecting to use his charm and persuasive tactics to convince Garth to leave. He seeks the help of Garth's grandniece Carol, played by Lee Remick, who is living and working as a secretary in the area. Glover attempts to woo Carol, but she is wary of his intentions and is fiercely loyal to her grandaunt, even going so far as to sabotage Glover's efforts to persuade Garth to leave.

Glover is not easily deterred, and as he spends more time in the community, he begins to see the beauty in the rugged landscape and the struggle of the people who live there. He also becomes increasingly conflicted about his mission and the consequences it will have on the lives of those who call the area home. As his feelings for Carol grow, Glover finds himself torn between his duty to the government and his love for the land and the people who live on it.

The movie is a powerful commentary on the human cost of progress, at a time when the United States was going through a period of rapid industrialization and modernization. It explores the themes of loyalty, duty, and sacrifice, as well as the clash between individualism and the greater good. The movie also delves into issues of race and class, as the TVA project is seen as a way to bring electricity and modernity to the rural South, but at the cost of displacing entire communities, many of whom were poor and African American.

The performances in the movie are outstanding, particularly those of Montgomery Clift and Jo Van Fleet. Montgomery Clift, known for his brooding intensity and vulnerability, delivers a nuanced portrayal of a man torn between his duty and his heart. Jo Van Fleet, a veteran character actress, brings a steely grit and fierce independence to her role as Ella Garth, a woman who has endured great hardship in her life and refuses to be pushed around. Lee Remick, in one of her earliest roles, provides a counterpoint to the two older actors, playing a young woman who is torn between her loyalty to her family and her desire for a better life.

The cinematography in the movie is also notable, with stunning images of the Tennessee landscape and the Cumberland River. The movie benefits from being shot on location, with much of it taking place in and around the actual Norris Dam, which was completed in 1936 and was one of the largest engineering projects of its time. The movie captures the beauty and majesty of the area, as well as the harsh realities of life for those who live there.

Overall, Wild River is a powerful movie that delves into important themes and issues, many of which are still relevant today. It is a testament to the power of cinema to explore complex issues and to challenge viewers to think deeply about the world around them.

Wild River is a 1960 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 50 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5.

Wild River
Where to Watch Wild River
Wild River is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Wild River for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 50 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (6,008)