Wild River (film)

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See also:U.S. National Wild and Scenic Rivers. Not to be confused with The River Wild.
Wild River
Wild River.jpg
Directed by Elia Kazan
Produced by Elia Kazan
Written by Borden Deal (novel)
William Bradford Huie (novel)
Paul Osborn
Starring Montgomery Clift
Lee Remick
Music by Kenyon Hopkins
Cinematography Ellsworth Fredricks, ASC
Editing by William Reynolds
Release dates 1960
Running time 110 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,595,000[1]
Box office $1,500,000 (US/ Canada)[2]

Wild River is a 1960 film directed by Elia Kazan starring Montgomery Clift, Lee Remick, Jo Van Fleet, Albert Salmi and Jay C. Flippen filmed on location in the Tennessee Valley. It was adapted by Paul Osborn from two novels – Borden Deal's Dunbar's Cove and William Bradford Huie's Mud on the Stars, drawing from Deal's story of a battle of wills between the nascent Tennessee Valley Authority and generations-old land owners for plot, and Huie's study of a rural Southern matriarchal family for characters.

In 2002, Wild River was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


A young idealistic TVA administrator, Chuck Glover (Montgomery Clift), comes to a small town in Tennessee in October 1933 to enforce the clearing of the land to be flooded by a new dam on the Tennessee River. An 80-year-old matriarch, Ella Garth (Jo Van Fleet who was only 45 at the time), refuses to sell her land to the federal government, and the film anticipates much of the environmental debates concerning the artificial control of rivers.[3]

Glover falls in love with the matriarch's granddaughter, Carol Garth Baldwin (Lee Remick).

The film also portrays some of the racial issues in the South after the Great Depression.


Exterior locations for Wild River were filmed on Coon Denton Island on the Hiwassee River, upriver from Charleston, Tennessee; in the town's old business district; and on a peninsula west of Cleveland, Tennessee, on Chickamauga Lake. A studio for interior shooting was also created in the Cleveland armory.[4]



  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p. 252
  2. ^ "Rental Potentials of 1960", Variety, 4 January 1961 p 47. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
  3. ^ Weiler, A.H. "Movies: About Wild River". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ TED STRONGINCHARLESTON, TENN.. "CHARTING A 'WILD RIVER,' TENNESSEE-STYLE :Real Sites, Citizens Add to Flavor Of T.V.A. Drama Now Being Made. " New York Times (1923–current file) 29 Nov. 1959,ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851–2007), ProQuest. Web. 5 Nov. 2010.

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