A family saga: In a stunning mountain valley ranch setting near Aspen, complex and dangerous family dynamics play out against the backdrop of the first big snowstorm of winter and an enormous panther with seemingly mythical qualities which is killing cattle. An arrogant, pitiless son (Robert Mitchum) and a rigid pharisaic mother side against a moral eldest son and and a defeated alcoholic father while the youngest son tries to lay low, hoping against hope to persuade his family to allow him to marry a girl he has brought to visit. The girl however draws venomous condemnation and the two elder brothers set out in the midst of a violent snowstorm on a dangerous mission to kill the deadly panther. —IMDb
William A.Wellman, the Oscar-winning director-screenwriter producer, was nicknamed “Wild Bill” because his larger-than life personality was as dynamic and freewheeling as one of his movies. TCM’s salute to this film legend includes a revised version of Richard Schickel’s The Men Who Made the Movies: William Wellman,made in 1973 and now updated with new interview material, re-mastered footage and a new narration by director Sydney Pollack. Joining host Robert Osborne to introduce and discuss TCM’s lineup of films is the filmmaker’s son, actor-producer-author William Wellman Jr.
Wellman (1896-1975) was born in Brookline, Mass., and saw action in World War I as part of the famous Lafayette Flying Corps. Between 1920 and 1923 he rose from bit actor to director of Hollywood films and made his name as a major filmmaker by directing the 1927 Wings, which won the first Best Picture Oscar®. He went on to create a wide variety of movies, and our festival is divided into genres in which… read more
The titular feline is never glimpsed and is a symbolic presence in Wellman's second interpretation of a Van Tilburg Clark book. It's a quite brilliant chamber piece, a pseudo-western in muted colours which expertly uses every inch of the 'Scope screen. Primarily set on a stagebound snowy ranch where a dysfunctional family is in conflict, Mitchum gives one of his great bad guy performances in this underrated classic..
Just right for a cold winter's night--stately and luminous Cinemascope photography of the snowy mountain wilderness, tangled family tale off the ancestral tree, moments of absurd and unexpected humor (such as Mitchum's readings of Keats' line "When I have fears that I may cease to be.") Forgotten American gem.
Wellman was capable of extraordinary things (Wild Boys of the Road??), but this is something else. Script by the guy who wrote "On Dangerous Ground," shot by the guy who shot "Liberty Valence," it's unlike anything in the genre (or '50s Hollywood), a film I always worry won't hold up but, instead, becomes less knowable every damn time you watch it.