On the riverfront | Movie Review | Chicago Reader

On the riverfront 

In Elia Kazan's Wild River, a federal agent tries to evict a Tennessee family from their island home

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Wild River: Dammed if you do, damned if you don't

Wild River: Dammed if you do, damned if you don't

On the Tennessee branch of the Mississippi, a TVA agent (Montgomery Clift) is faced with the job of evicting a matriarch (Jo Van Fleet) from her family island in order to complete a dam project. This 1960 drama is probably Elia Kazan's finest and deepest film, a meditation on how the past both inhibits and enriches the present. Lee Remick costars as Van Fleet's widowed daughter, giving one of the most affecting performances of her underrated career. The tone shifts from hysteria to reverie in the blinking of an eye, but Kazan handles it all with a sure touch. Scripted by Paul Osborn, and adapted in part from books by Borden Deal and William Bradford Huie.

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