Saturday, May 29, 2010
'Pursued' has been called a lost classic. But the good news is It's gone through a restoration process thanks to generous funding from Martin Scorsese and now it looks pretty spectacular. Like many of Robert Mitchum's movies, 'Pursued' has not received the recognition it deserves. That's one of the reasons Scorsese went through with restoring the film. Yes, he wanted to make it look and sound better, but I think he also wanted to give it some attention its been deprived of since its original release in 1947. Robert Mitchum is one of the best actors from Hollywood's golden era because of the complexity of his roles. And maybe that's one of the reasons the general public doesn't look at look at him in the same league as Cary Grant or James Stewart. His movies aren't geared toward a wide audience because you can't tell when he'll play someone you'll love or someone you'll hate. That's why a movie like 'Night of the Hunter' is relatively unknown. The same can be said about 'Pursued.' Its a strange little movie that doesn't follow any sort of conventional storytelling procedures. It opens at the climax of the story, though at the time we don't know this. So naturally it doesn't make any sense. Then the story flashes back and we see how it got to that climactic point. Mitchum plays Jeb, a troubled young man trying to piece together his terrible past while escaping from his bitter enemies in the present. He's a pretty unlucky guy, as none of the problems he faces are directly his fault. This is first and foremost a Western, but the movie doesn't shy away from putting in classic elements of film noir. Mitchum is of course perfectly cast as Jeb. He's not your typical hero and at the end he doesn't even kill his archenemy. But it's the depth of his character that makes him so memorable. No he doesn't act the way normal heroes do. But that just makes it more real. And he gets great support from Teresa Wright as his sister-in-law and Judith Anderson as his adoptive mother.