River’s Edge, The (1957)

River’s Edge, The (1957)

“You’re like something I’ve caught and can’t quite cure myself of.”

When an ex-con (Debra Paget) married to a rancher (Anthony Quinn) learns that her former lover (Ray Milland) — who she took the rap for — has arrived with money in a briefcase and is hoping to get across the border to Mexico, she persuades her husband to help; but their situation quickly becomes even stickier once Milland shows his truly sociopathic nature.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Allan Dwan Films
  • Anthony Quinn Films
  • Cat-and-Mouse
  • Debra Paget Films
  • Ex-Cons
  • Love Triangle
  • Ranchers
  • Ray Milland Films

In his review for DVD Talk, Stuart Galbraith IV accurately describes this late-career outing by workhorse director Allan Dwan as “a compact little thriller that’s part modern-day Western, part-quasi noir,” a “violent and nasty… three-character show where no one is entirely innocent or unrepentantly evil.” Although it takes a little while for the storyline to get underway, once it does we find ourselves unexpectedly involved in how things will resolve — especially given that Quinn and Paget’s motivations continue to shift. Does Quinn really love Paget, or just feel sorry for her? Does Paget still really love Milland, or will she see the folly of that stance?

Milland, meanwhile, is a straight-up baddie who we watch simply to see what self-centered moves he’ll make next.

Watch for Harry Carey, Jr. in a small but pivotal role as a goldminer who helps the trio out — at a cost.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Anthony Quinn as Ben Cameron
  • A surprisingly compelling screenplay

Must See?
No, but it’s worth a look if you’re in the mood for this kind of flick.


One thought on “River’s Edge, The (1957)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see.

    Generally watchable time-waster, with Dwan’s standard efficient if not remarkable direction. If the storyline isn’t exactly familiar, it still feels familiar (what with the love triangle and all).

    After the first half-hour, this is pure melodrama, becoming somewhat talky as it goes, and it begins to lose some steam. I watched it to the end but my mind also wandered.

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