Wayne is veteran Lt. Col. Yorke, bedevilled by the fact that the Apaches attack and thenretreat across the Rio Grande, while the cavalry can’t pursue into Mexico. Further complicatinghis life are the arrival in camp of his young son as a fresh recruit, and his estranged wife(O’Hara) wanting to bring sonny home. This isn’t the greatest of Ford’s westerns, largely becauseof its meandering plot. But it does have those great Monument Valley vistas, and it is goodfun.
As with High Noon, there is a choice between enhanced a regular mono. Both are clean, butthe enhanced is particularly nice, with a noticeably richer sound. There is no static whatever onthe soundtrack, so the film sounds very nice without the oddities of imposed stereo.
An absolutely spiffing print is on offer here. Sure, there’s a tiny bit of grain, but the print is inpristine condition, and the contrasts are so razor-sharp, that all in all this is a pretty gorgeousrelease.
The main is fully animated, but silent — a rather odd choice. The principle extra is MaureenO’Hara’s commentary track, wherein she regales us with many anecdotes concerning the RioGrande in specific, and working with Ford and Wayne in general. Apart from trailers for thecompanion releases (High Noon and The Quiet Man), there are two 20-minute documentaries:the Leonard Maltin-hosted “The Making of Rio Grande” and “Along the Rio Grande” (which hasinterviews with O’Hara and Andrew (son of Victor) McLaglen. Both are interesting, though acertain degree of repeated information is perhaps inevitable.
Not the greatest western ever made, but a damn fine one nonetheless. Check your racialsensitivities at the door, however, and a you might want to brush up on your Civil War history aswell.
Special Features List
- “The Making of Rio Grande” Featurette
- “Along the Rio Grande” Featurette