Pursued (1947) Blood on the Moon (1948)

Pursued (1947)
July 8, 2011 - 7:30 pm
In-person: 
Marilyn Ann Moss, author, "Raoul Walsh: The True Adventures of Hollywood's Legendary Director"; Alan K. Rode, author and film historian.

Pursued (1947)

Preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive in cooperation with Republic Pictures; special thanks to Ernie Kirkpatrick. Funding by the AFI/NEA Preservation Grants Program and Martin Scorsese.

Directed by Raoul Walsh

Working from a script by Niven Busch (author of Duel in the Sun who co-scripted The Postman Always Rings Twice) with legendary cinematographer James Wong Howe behind the lens, director Raoul Walsh reimagines the Western for the age of noir with actor Robert Mitchum at its dark, fatalistic heart. As Jeb Rand, an orphan taken in by the matriarch of a ranching family and haunted by barely repressed memories of violence, Mitchum exudes a brooding, rough-hewn sensuality as a man unable to shake free from the grip of his past. Walsh and Howe transform the iconic Western landscape from one of expansive vistas into a claustrophobic web of shadows, shot through with dread, paranoia and Freudian anxieties. Pursued not only set the stage for the darker, eccentric Westerns of the 1950s, such as Johnny Guitar and Forty Guns, it established the versatility of Mitchum’s screen presence for other directors, such as William A. Wellman, looking to push the Western genre into more deeply psychological terrain.

Warner Bros. Producer: Milton Sperling. Screenwriter: Niven Busch. Cinematographer: James Wong Howe. Editor: Christian Nyby. Cast: Robert Mitchum, Teresa Wright, Judith Anderson, Dean Jagger, Alan Hale.

35mm, b/w, 101 min.

Blood on the Moon (1948)

Directed by Robert Wise

The plot of Blood on the Moon sounds like standard Western fare: A stranger rides into town and finds himself driven by circumstance and conscience into choosing sides in a range war. The familiarity of the tale highlights the film’s stylistic gambit. An unshaven Mitchum plays the stranger, Jim Garry, with a gritty, seedy edge, he’s a hero from hunger, that perfectly anchors the hard realism of old Val Lewton hands, director Robert Wise and cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca, who suffuse the sagebrush with deep noirish shadows.

RKO. Producer: Theron Warth. Based on a novel by Luke Short. Screenwriter: Lillie Hayward. Cinematographer: Nicholas Musuraca. Editor: Samuel E. Beetley. Cast: Robert Mitchum, Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Preston, Walter Brennan, Phyllis Thaxter. 

35mm, b/w, 88 min.