The old movies have a rough and ready quality. They were made fast. There are scenes in Red River where you can sense the director thinking, "That's good enough; now let's move to the next set-up". It creates a kind of energy you don't get these days. Red River belongs to that period of John Wayne's career where his directors- notably John Ford and (here) Howard Hawks- were getting him to work challenging variations on his four-square persona. Here he's the bad guy (sort of) but the good guys are in love with him. His scenes with Joanne Dru are as tangy as it gets in mid-century westerns. The whole movie is a muscly, twitching, peculiarly American take on gender as performance.