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Pursued

Year: 1947
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: Raoul Walsh
Cast (in credits order):
Teresa Wright ... Thorley Callum
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Robert Mitchum ... Jeb Rand
Judith Anderson ... Medora Callum
Dean Jagger ... Grant Callum
Alan Hale ... Jake Dingle
John Rodney ... Adam Callum

Plot synopsis:As a young boy, orphaned Jeb Rand is taken in by the Callums and falls in love with his adoptive sister, Thorley but feuds with her brother Adam. Jeb is pursued by the man who killed his father and has vowed to kill every Rand. This vendetta claims Adam, and Jeb is put on trial. Thorley's love turns to hate, but she still agrees to marry him, plotting to kill him.

Verdict: A fine, moody, romantic film that's been called the first noir-Western, thanks in part to cinematographer James Wong Howe. Complete with a family secret, a psychologically haunted hero, and a flashback structure, it certainly fits the bill. Mitchum is in his prime and the love-hate romance with Teresa Wright smolders.

Behind the Scenes: Jack Warner passed over both Montgomery Clift and Kirk Douglas in favor of Mitchum for the role of Jeb Rand. Wright, whose husband, Niven Busch wrote the screenplay, was intimidated by her leading man, says Harry Carey, Jr., who plays a nervous suitor of Thorley's. As he told biographer Lee Server, "Bob scared her. She found him physically overpowering, and with that sort of bad boy sexuality, she just became out of sorts when he was near her. It was a strange thing to see. She was scared to death, afraid he was going to do something to her, tear her down and rape her or something. And Bob was not that kind of guy." (And this was long before Cape Fear!)