dir. Raoul Walsh

TIFF Cinematheque - Hollywood Classics

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Robert Mitchum stars as a man haunted (and hunted) by the demons of his past in this noir-ish, Freudian western by the great Raoul Walsh.


Along with Wild Girl (also screening in this series), Pursued ranked as most everyone's favourite from the Raoul Walsh retrospective at last year's Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna. Beautifully restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive with support from Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation, Walsh's intense psychological western stars Robert Mitchum in a star-making performance as Jeb Rand, haunted by memories of his family's slaughter when he was a boy. The past returns with a vengeance when Jeb learns that, despite having grown up in an adoptive household, he is still being pursued to fulfill the vendetta that killed his kin. Told in noir-style flashback and shot with a surfeit of inky high-contrast style by master cinematographer James Wong Howe, Pursued makes the most of its location shooting in Gallup, New Mexico, though its psychological landscape gets equal attention: in this Greek tragedy on the mesa, in which Teresa Wright plays Jeb's loving "half-sister" and Judith Anderson looms over all as his adopted mother, Walsh and Howe lavish telling visual design on the domestic interiors where Jeb's Freudian nightmare, stoked by semi-incestuous desire, is played out. "One of the best-made westerns of the forties" (Glen Erickson).

35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Preservation funding provided by The Film Foundation and the AFI/NEA Film Preservation Grants Program.