This 1974 film has some potential--the story that is.
Due to the vintage, the acting and historical accuracy left something to be desired (as well as the script), but the actual story isn't that bad.
The film follows the true story of the Sager family, but most particularly the eldest son, John, as they head out for Oregon from Missouri. John, at the age of 13 or thereabouts, has potential, but he is lazy, mean, and even disrespectful (at least in the film version. I would be interested in reading the book...)
After a couple of disasters, John is left, the eldest of seven children, to take care of his siblings. He determines to fulfill his papa's dream and go on to Oregon. The way is frought with danger, difficultly, and disease, but still he presses on, with his six younger siblings, one a babe in arms, to his goal.
The story has great potential--particularly when you take into account the fact that Christianity is not entirely absent.
But this is where the real disappointment comes in. The Christianity which could have been clear and present is only marginal and not as orthodox as it could have been (there is some clearly unorthodox theology in one particular scene). The growth that John could have shown is lacking--there is character growth implied, but it's not really shown. Instead of seeing a John that learns to be a man and to love his siblings, we only get sundry glimpses of it, to be covered back over by the harsh, bossy John. It's somewhat confusing actually...
There is an distinct element of 1970's children portraying 1840's children that just doesn't work. This, among other things, makes me wonder how much of the 1970's twist was put on the story and how different the book is.
I would not bother watching this film a second time because it wasn't really that great of a movie, but the story...that I would like to see made again from a distinctly reformed, Christian persepective.
Starring Jimmy Stewart as Glyn McLyntoch, Bend of the River is a 1952 Western about several Missouri farmers and their families as they move to Oregon.
Set after the War Between the States, the audience quickly gathers that Glyn is a former Kansas/Missouri boarder ruffian. He acts as the guide across the west, leading the wagon train into Oragon and helping get the community established.
Conflict arises when gold is struck around Portland and the settlers supplies are in essence held hostage by a leading Portland citizen.
Glyn must prove his mettle, and his changed heart, in order to get those supplies to the farmers before winter sets in.
Among the postives of this film is Jeremy Baile, the head of the wagon train. He is a good man--brave, yet not rash...wise and kind. He also is a humble man who is willing to learn and can admit when he is wrong.
Being an early 50's Western, the dialouge is clean and the movie in general wholesome and without any thing to really worry about children viewing. There is but one kiss...and it is used, I think, more to wordlessly demonstrate a situation than anything. (And in fact, from the angle it was shot at, I'm not sure the actor and actress were actually kissing each other...)
I enjoyed this movie quite a bit though I did think some of the costuming/hair/etc. could have been more historically accurate--but one really can't expect that in a 50's Western.
And of course, there is Jimmy Stewart. The man had such a unique voice and really played this kind of role well...almost awkward, but confident at the same time.
A Reformed Presbyterian girl who enjoys a good movie or a good book any ol' time.
Note: All images picked up online. No copyright infringment intended.