River of No Return 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.
One of Monroe’s most natural and appealing performances…
River of No Return Cinemascope was at the height of popularity when Fox decided to cast Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum in a story set against the scenic splendor of the Rockies. Marilyn even gets to sing a few fetching song numbers (her saloon song atop a bar is a standout and she delivers a totally professional job). Sleepy-eyed Mitchum makes a good partner for Monroe and little Tommy Rettig scores as the adoring little boy who watches wistfully as Monroe strums a song on her guitar.
Into the story, slight as it is, is an Indian attack while Mitchum and Monroe battle the rapids. It’s all very routine going, for the most part, but the chance to see Monroe strut her stuff in a tight pair of jeans and Mitchum give a sturdy, likeable performance is enough to make the movie a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. River of No Return
Nothing great here, but a very satisfying performance by Marilyn who does a more than competent job on her less than inspired songs. And the scenery helps.
Otto Preminger’s direction is not as taut as it should have been for a tale of this sort–in fact, the whole film has a lumbering pace that seems to make some parts of the story seem more like filler material than anything else. And poor Rory Calhoun has little to do.