Red River – Aspects of Sound

Sound used in Movie tracks are:

Dialogue:  Dialogue is the speaking of the actors, either in the foreground, backgound or out of frame. Words in the Script that are intended to be spoken.  (Diegetic).

Sound Effects:  Noises that are on or off the script, but not intended to be spoken.  Sound effects, such as slamming a door, or a dog howling are used to increase the effect and realism of a film. (Diegetic).

Music:  Music is meant to enhance the momet, or mood on the screen.  It adds dramatic effect to the Miz-en-scene, by using music to set the mood, or theme of the scene.

Dialogue in the Film Red River is used to tell the story and to convey how the characters are feeliing, it is an essential part of the film.

Wayne and Cliff (Cinematic Adventures, 2009)

In this scene, the dialogue between the actors matches with the emotion as seen in this picture.  Tom (John Wayne) is mad at one of the cowboys.  The dialogue used was how cowboys talked and words they would have used in that timeframe.  The dialogue supports the premise of the movie that Tom is mean and cruel.

Sound effects used in the movie are typical for a western.  Gun shots, thunder, cows mooing and wagons creeping along the trail. These add much to the effect of the film on the audience.  The sound of the wind and rain add realism to the various scenes depicting how tough life was on the trail.


The Cattle Drive  (Torcivia, 2013)

The music in the movie was used to enhance the emotions of the characters and to give the audience some incite to the mood or feelings the characters were experiencing.

The scene that is especially haunting is the scene ot Tom in the River fighting with the Indian.  As he stabs the Indian, the music makes these rapid sounds timed to the knive strokes.

Tom in the Red River  (doucet, 2014)

Sound is very important to the movie Red River.  It just would not be a western without the sounds of guns, and the yell of the cowboys.  In the start of the cattle drive, Howard Hawks inserted each cowboy in the movie with each giving a yell individually.  The sounds in this movie as stated above easily support the Genre of Westerns.  If you heard these sounds, you would not have to see the picture to know what type of movie was playing.

The soundtrack for the film is pretty realistic for dialogue and sound effects.  Of course, the music is non-diegetic, but I can’t imagine the movie without it.  Everything put together makes one fine picture. I can watch it over and over.  I did find the thunder pretty loud, but then again, I have never been on the plains during a lightening storm either.

It amazes me how much sound effects and music add to a movie that you never give any attention to until its missing.   Losing either one of them would dramatically effect the quality of the movie.



Cinematic Adventures, (2009). Red River, Dir. Howard Hawks (1948). [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Oct. 2014].

Torcivia, J. (2013). Joe Torcivia’s The Issue At Hand Blog: DVD Review: Red River (1947). [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Oct. 2014].

doucet, m. (2014). Deep Focus Review – The Definitives – Red River (1948). [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Oct. 2014].


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