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River of No Return Links
Year: 1954
Studio: Twentieth Century-Fox
Director: Otto Preminger
Cast (in credits order):
Robert Mitchum ... Matt Calder
Marilyn Monroe ... Kay
Rory Calhoun ... Harry Weston
Tommy Rettig ... Mark Calder

Watch the original trailer on

Plot synopsis: Just released from prison, Matt Calder goes to claim his young son Mark and get back to working his farm when he's forced to rescue gambler Harry Weston and his dancehall girl, Kay, from some mean rapids. Harry, who's trying to get to town to stake his claim on a goldmine, knocks out Matt and steals his horse, leaving Mark, Matt, and Kay to hit the river themselves or be killed by Indians. Matt has no high opinion of Kay, but gradually sees her in a different light.

Verdict: A great, big '50s-style CinemaScope adventure, featuring two of the biggest stars of the era in their only pairing. Mitchum is at his most rugged and Marilyn looks as fetching in jeans as she does in her sequined dancehall outfit.

Behind the Scenes: Marilyn brought her acting coach along with her to the set, exasperating everyone, particularly director Preminger. Mitchum said that he'd slap Marilyn on the bottom before each take to get her to drop her coach-inspired vocal affectations. In the scene in which Marilyn runs into the water to release the raft, she really slipped and broke her leg. In the following scene in which Mitchum rubs her dry, her broken leg is covered. Note, this was one of Mitchum's highest-grossing films, ranking at No. 19 for the year. It was also Mitch's first film since leaving RKO.

Music: Mitchum, who did a bit of singing in his spare time, does not sing the theme song as it plays over the title credits; that's Tennessee Ernie Ford you hear. His version is not currently available but here's a video (set to still photos) on