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Pursued (1947)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,669 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 32 critic

Brought up by a neighboring family in the 1880s, an orphan grows up haunted by nightmares of a childhood trauma in which his own family was killed.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Jeb
...
Mrs. Callum
...
Grant
...
Jake Dingle
John Rodney ...
Adam
...
Prentice
Clifton Young ...
The Sergeant
Ernest Severn ...
Jeb, age 11
Charles Bates ...
Adam, age 11
Peggy Miller ...
Norman Jolley ...
A Callum
Lane Chandler ...
A Callum
Elmer Ellingwood ...
A Callum
Jack Montgomery ...
A Callum
Edit

Storyline

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 duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 March 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La vallée de la peur  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film Jim Morrison (lead singer of The Doors) watched on the night he died (July 3, 1971). See more »

Goofs

Although some of the outdoor vistas are breathtaking, the standard establishing shot of the ranch is shot indoors with a quite obvious painted canvas backdrop. See more »

Quotes

Jeb: [Narrating] One day I rode up in the butte country...
[Approaching the burned out shell of a cabin]
Jeb: 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]
Jeb: I'd seen it a million times before... the fireplace... the trap door...
[Walking outside again]
Jeb: 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 ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lost: Outlaws (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Wedding March
(uncredited)
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Incorporated in score during Thor's marriage to Jeb. in Steiner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Mitchum's sleepy eyes make sense
16 March 2003 | by See all my reviews

`Pursued' is ranked among Walsh's best westerns. It's inferior to `Colorado Territory' (probably Walsh's best), but forms a trilogy of underrated masterpieces with `Along the great divide' and `Gun fury'.

This peculiar film incorporates elements of the film noir, a genre frequently visited by the director. The story unfolds through a series of flashbacks in which the hero Jeb Rand (Robert Mitchum) struggles to evoke an obscure incident of his early childhood. This memory might give him the key to deal with a series of tragedies that take place one after the other with no apparent reason.

The film loses its logic early on, and we are so engaged in Walsh's storytelling, that we don't mind. Nothing makes sense here. Everything is disconnected, from Theresa Wright's progression into blind revenge (she wants to marry Jeb to shoot him on his wedding night), to Micthum's stoic acceptance of his misfortunes. All might be dictated by luck (the flipping of the coin, the casino), but that luck can be manipulated too (the wheel of fortune incident, later picked up by Lang in `Rancho Notorious').

This is not John Ford's contemporary universe ruled by tradition and heroism. In fact, the film's tone anticipates the pessimistic mood of Ford's `The Searchers'. `Pursued' is like a farewell to classicism, is turning away from an era fell down like the hero's cottage. Walsh is opening the door to a new expressionism in western, eventually taken over by Mann and Boetticher.

In this film, whose dramatic structure is as pure as a greek tragedy, even celebrations are sad, as when Mitch comes as a hero of war. Right during the welcoming there's plotting against him going on. The star here is James Wong Howe's photography. The interiors are sombre, the exteriors are wasted. The night scenes are as nocturne as any western ever portrayed. The funeral scene is pure pictorial ciaroscure. The overwhelming landscape of Gallup, New Mexico (used again in `Colorado Territory') acquire a dramatic and oppressive meaning, significant enough to match Ford's utilization of Monument Valley.

Walsh's direction turns a standard script into a sordid exploration of human misery. It could have take the form of a dream (Mitchum appears like a sleepwalker throughout the entire film), but thanks to Howe's outstanding photo and Steiner's powerful score, it developed into a nightmare.


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Feels more like film noir than a western scheelj1
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