Nick Cochran, an American in exile in Macao, has a chance to restore his name by helping capture an international crime lord. Undercover, can he mislead the bad guys and still woo the handsome singer/petty crook, Julie Benson?
Josef von Sternberg,
After his family is murdered in the 1880s, orphan Jeb Rand is raised by the Callum family on their nearby horse ranch. He remains haunted by this childhood trauma in a recurring nightmare of flashing spurs and confinement inside a trap door as his family is slaughtered. Widow Callum does her best to make Jeb feel loved as he is growing up, but the young man stubbornly maintains a sense of his own identity. While he has great affection for his foster-sister Thor, his relationship with her brother Adam is tenuous at best, especially when Jeb blames him for shooting a colt that he was riding. Although Mrs. Callum blames the incident on deer hunters, she is aware that the it was actually the attempted murder of the youngster by her brother-in-law Grant, a shadowy figure who, for vague reasons, is determined to harm Jeb. Jeb loses a coin flip with Adam, and becomes the designated family volunteer to fight in the Spanish-American War. Jeb returns a hero, but does not find happiness. ... Written by
After Adam is shot, a dummy is used to show his body rolling down the hill. The incline is not great and a stuntman could easily have been used, so the obvious dummy is a jarring note. See more »
One day I rode up in the butte country...
[Approaching the burned out shell of a cabin]
Came straight to this place just like I'd known the way. There was something in my life that ruined that house. That house was myself.
[Entering the charred remains]
I'd seen it a million times before... the fireplace... the trap door...
[Walking outside again]
Out back there was some cattle bones. All of a sudden I couldn't breathe, and then as I walked around the side, I came upon some unmarked ...
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Pursued (1947), a noir Western directed by the great Raoul Walsh and stars Robert Mitchum, Teresa Wright and Judith Anderson.
The plot is simple enough: Set in New Mexico (and shot there too) around the turn of the century and told in flashback, the film tells the story of Jeb Rand (Robert Mitchum) whose family was murdered when he was a small boy. The sight of this haunts him, which manifests itself in bad dreams, into adulthood, as he is brought up by Mrs. Callum (Judith Anderson) and her two children, including Thor (Teresa Wright), whom he falls in love with. When the killers (led by the effectively cool Dean Jagger) discover that he exists and the only Rand left, they vow to kill him too. But Rand also has other problems to sort out, especially his jealous half-brother Adam Callum (John Rodney).
The photography, by the esteemed James Wong Howe is breathtaking, all harsh black-and-white vistas; the editing too, by Christian Nyby (who would later go on to take credit for directing the classic science fiction film The Thing from Another World! ) is above average, and the music by Max Steiner is up to the same high standard of the of his other classic scores. The direction is brilliantly handled by Walsh and the screenplay by Niven Busch throws up more than a few surprises. Robert Mitchum is his usual laconic self (which is no bad thing!), Judith Anderson as always is excellent, Teresa Wright is good as Mitchum's half-sister and love and Dean Jagger, Alan Hale and Harry Carey Jr. all turn in memorable performances. The film itself has been influential, being homage in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West and Martin Scorsese has talked about his great admiration for it. This was also, tragically, the last movie "The Doors" singer Jim Morrison watched before he did on July 3, 1971. Pursued is an extremely good Western noir that deserves to be much more well known than it is and I strongly urge fans of either Westerns or noir's to see it.
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