1947, USA, Raoul Walsh, 101 min.
Introduced by film critic David Phelps
This indisputably finest of "noir-Westerns" sets its dark storyline under cinematographer James Wong Howe's oppressive clouds and menacing cliffs. Less Freudian psychodrama than fated family tragedy, Pursued revolves around the great brooding performance of Robert Mitchum, haunted by an obscure childhood nightmare of flashing spurs and gunshots. The complex flashback structure finds adult Mitchum, in turn-of-the-century New Mexico, beset by the return of a one-armed nemesis (Dean Jagger) and still disturbed by his love-hate relations with his foster-mother (Judith Anderson, in a steely performance) and foster-sister (Teresa Wright, whose openness plays off Mitchum's gloom.) Director Raoul Walsh, after a career of memorable Westerns (The Big Trail, They Died with Their Boots On, etc.), looked back on Pursued as his favorite: "I love that movie." - Scott Simmon
"It seems magical now that the Western apparatus lends itself so easily to a story of the inner life. The use of Monument Valley is intriguing. That is Ford's territory, of course, but Fored uses it as spectacle whereas Busch (the screenwriter) and Walsh (the director) turn it into a psychic setting for characters who have offended the gods. Pursuit, tracking, searching have their outward meanings. But put an American in the wilderness and he is so astounded that he decides space is a projection of his mind." - Have you Seen? by David Thomson
Free ticket with a $7 bar minimum. Tickets are available for pick-up after 6:45pm at the will call table in the K2 Lounge (limited capacity).
BEHIND THE SCENES
• A coin is flipped three times.
• The film Jim Morrison (lead singer of The Doors) watched on the night he died (July 3, 1971).
• “A person's gotta find his own answers. We're alone... each of us. Each in a different way.”
About the Speaker
David Phelps is a writer, filmmaker, translator, and programmer. He has written for a variety of publications, including forthcoming anthologies on Fritz Lang and George Cukor, and serves as an editor-at-large for the international film journals Lumière, desistfilm, and La Furia Umana. With Gina Telaroli, he has co-edited a dossier on William Wellman as well a forthcoming anthology on Allan Dwan, soon to be published through Lumière online in conjunction with the MoMA retrospective. His short films include On Spec and an ongoing Cinetract series, and he is currently working on a retrospective on the history of Portuguese cinema. His work can be found at davidphelps.tumblr.com.