River Lady (film)

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River Lady
Poster of River Lady (film).jpg
Directed by George Sherman
Produced by Leonard Goldstein
Written by Houston Branch (novel)
Frank Waters (novel)
Screenplay by D.D. Beauchamp
William Bowers
Starring Yvonne De Carlo
Dan Duryea
& Rod Cameron
Music by Paul Sawtell
Cinematography Irving Glassberg
Edited by Otto Ludwig
Universal Pictures
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • May 14, 1948 (1948-05-14) (United States)
  • May 20, 1948 (1948-05-20) (New York City)
  • June 1948 (1948-06) (Los Angeles)
Running time
78 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1 million[1]

River Lady is a 1948 American Technicolor Western film directed by George Sherman and starring Yvonne De Carlo and Dan Duryea. It was filmed on the Universal Studios Backlot.[2]


In the 1870s, in a logging town on the Mississippi River, a conflict exists between the people of a mill town and the lumberjacks who work downriver. Romance and deceit are catalyzed by the arrival of the gambling riverboat, River Lady, owned by a beautiful woman called Sequin.

Bauvais, a representative of the local lumber syndicate and Sequin's business partner, is trying to convince H.L. Morrison, the mill owner, to sell his business. Morrison refuses, and Sequin eventually buys part of the struggling business in order to provide a reputable job for her boyfriend, Dan Corrigan, a lumberjack.

Dan eventually takes the job and he and Sequin become engaged. But, when Dan discovers that Sequin manipulated Morrison into giving him the job, he gets drunk and marries Stephanie, Morrison's daughter. Sparks fly between Morrison's business and Sequin's syndicate instigated by a vengeful Dan.

In the following battle, Bauvais is killed and Dan is shot. After the battle, Sequin visits a healing Dan and asks to get back together (Dan and Stephanie are separated). Dan tells Sequin he has actually fallen in love with his wife and wants to stay with her. On her way out of town forever, Sequin tells Stephanie that Dan wants her thereby reuniting the couple.



The Hollywood Reporter reported that Ann Blyth was originally cast in River Lady, probably as "Stephanie Morrison," Helena Carter's character. DeCarlo and Duryea had previously appeared together in the Universal film Black Bart, also directed by Sherman. According to Universal press materials, the boat used in River Lady was originally built in 1929 for the silent version of Show Boat.[3]

Although set in 1870s Minnesota, the film mentions dynamite several times, and one character is shown using it. Dynamite was not invented until 1867.


The film was based on a novel by Houston Branch and Frank Waters. Film rights were bought by Universal in 1941 for a reported $50,000, even before the novel had been published. It was purchased for the Frank Lloyd production unit, but when Lloyd left the studio, Universal kept rights to the novel. In 1946 the project was re-activated when it was assigned to producer Michael Fessier and Ernest Pagano.[4]

Filming started April 1947.[5]


  1. ^ [https://archive.org/stream/variety169-1948-02#page/n133/mode/1up Variety 18 February 1948 p 14
  2. ^ 'RIVER LADY' TYPICAL Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 08 July 1948: 23.
  3. ^ TCM Movie Database
  4. ^ UNIVERSAL PLANS 'RIVER LADY' FILM: Fessier and Pagano to Handle Movie Based on Novel-- Four Named to Cast Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 04 Oct 1946: 16.
  5. ^ Fessier and Pagano to Do 'Bloomer Girl' Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 23 Mar 1947: B2.

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