The Mountain

1956

Adventure / Drama

Synopsis


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as Zachary Teller
as Christopher 'Chris' Teller
as Marie
as Father Belacchi
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23.976
01 hr 45 min
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23.976
01 hr 45 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 9 / 10

Rescue And Redemption

During his career Spencer Tracy essayed a few roles as a foreigner and did quite well in them for a man who was so typically American. Of course the most prominent was Manuel Fidello in Captains Courageous, but he also played a gypsy in Tortilla Flat, a Cuban fisherman in The Old Man and the Sea, a German in The Seventh Cross. He certainly did a lot better than Henry Fonda who was also typically American, but laughable in War and Peace.

In The Mountain he plays a Swiss mountaineer, a simple peasant guy with great dignity and iron moral sense. He's got a younger brother played by Robert Wagner and there's a generation gap between them.

Wagner's performance reminded me very much of what Marlon Brando said in The Young Lions about how he resented working for tips from foreigners in his own country. Wagner wants to get up and out of their Alpine village and doesn't care how. Brando and Wagner are both ambitious, Brando's way was to become a Nazi, Wagner had a less political approach to satisfy his ambition, one a lot more crude though.

A plane crashes on a forbidden Alp near their house, a mountain that Spencer Tracy had climbed solo before. An expedition to reach survivors fails with the death of a friend of Tracy. Wagner wants to go up on the mountain to loot the passengers. Tracy wants to see if there are survivors and they make the climb.

A survivor does turn up actually, a Hindu woman played by Anna Kashfi, this was in fact an Air India plane that crashed. Her survival touches off a test of wills and purpose for the brothers.

I hadn't seen The Mountain for many years and I had forgotten how riveting Spencer Tracy's performance was. In the dialog and in the closeups the anguish in him tears at the audience.

The only criticism I have of The Mountain was that Tracy and Wagner were playing brothers. Tracy was the least vain of all the great Hollywood stars from the studio era, he was known for never wearing makeup. He looks every bit the 56 years on the screen and Wagner looks his age and he was in his twenties then. They're not too believable as brothers, but both are skilled enough players to overcome it. But they should have been made father and son like in Broken Lance.

Outside of that The Mountain is one great film.

Reviewed by Nazi_Fighter_David 8 / 10

Dmytryk shows the magic and beauty of the high mountain country!

The emotional power of Dmytryk's films may derive from his range of vision always patronizing his characters, restoring honesty and ability to a style and realism...

For Tracy climbing a mountain is a matter of integrity... The conquest of a peak brings moments of exultation and bliss... What he gets from the adventure is just sheer joy... He is simple, kind and sincere...

All brothers dream, but Tracy dreams for the little... He sees life in an honest way... His brother (Wagner), at the contrary, dreams big and with open eyes to make it reality...

When a plane crashes on the top of the mountain, Wagner insists on going up to plunder the remains of the wrecked plane... Spencer accedes to the request to stop his spoiled younger brother to climb the mountain alone...

The avaricious brother is a novice in climbing techniques... He is seeking outdoor adventure only to bring gold and silver, and to strip the dead passengers robbing their money, jewelry and goods...

Tracy - with previous mountaineering experience - had something else in him which responds to the challenge and goes out to meet the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward to shield the safety of his brother with passion and enthusiasm...They are two generations apart, two opposite characters with two utterly different goals...

After a long and hard journey up the mountain, they succeed to reach the airplane wreck and to find that one passenger is still alive - a Hindu girl (Anna Kashfi).

A concerned Tracy gives all his good nature assistance as a caring human being to the injured delicate girl... But an unscrupulous brother intends to murder the helpless woman in order to steal her precious gem...

With the most gorgeous natural areas around; large fields with many ridges and faces; difficult rock climbing; and weak snow bridges, Dmytryk adds to the drama (in VistaVision and Technicolor) the magic and beauty of the high mountain country...

Reviewed by MartinHafer 5 / 10

It's too bad that the poor casting decisions get in the way of excellent cinematography and special effects.

The casting decisions in "The Mountain" was insane--even by Hollywood standards of the 1950s. After all, Spencer Tracy and Robert Wagner are cast as brothers--and their age difference is 30 years! And, frankly, at this point in his life, Tracy looked significantly older than 56--probably due, in part, to his heavy drinking. On top of that, the film is based in the Alps--yet no one sounds French, German or Italian--just American. For me, all this really took me out of the experience and overwhelmed everything else in the film--both the good and the bad.

"The Mountain" begins with a plane crashing into a mountain in Europe. A group of mountain climbers have volunteered to climb to the summit to look for survivors, but the job looks almost impossible. After all, it's getting late in the year and the mountain has claimed lives over the years. One climber who isn't about to climb is a guy played by Tracy. He is a VERY experienced climber but has given up the sport because he KNOWS he'll die if he keeps climbing--as he nearly lost his life the last time he climbed this mountain. Soon, the rescue party returns--their leader is dead and they don't believe it's possible to make it. So far, so good. However, inexplicably, Wagner insists he'll go up the mountain alone (even though he's NOT an experienced climber) because he wants to rob the dead. Even more inexplicable is that Tracy agrees to go along--even though he's horrified by his brother's callousness. His intention is just to keep the younger sibling from getting himself killed. What happens next? See the film.

I thought as I watched the film that although Spencer Tracy looked way too old for the part that he did a nice job. As for Wagner, however, he didn't have much chance in this film. First, he was acting against one of the ages best actors. Second, his character was about as one-dimensional as Snidely Whiplash or Simon Legree!! He was ridiculously written--and his character sure went to a lot of trouble just to steel. He could have easily committed crimes at sea level, instead! When the film began, I was very impressed. The camera-work was great--with incredibly vivid colors and a scope that was just lovely. And, many times during the film, I marveled at the way the director and his crew were able to make it appear as if Wagner and Tracy really were climbing in the mountains. Too bad, then, that the writing and casting was so dumb that all the great looks of the film were in vain. Overall, a time-passer that should have been much better.

FYI--Something you might want to look for if you like spotting goofs is Tracy's hands. In a VERY shocking and exciting scene, his hands are horribly torn apart by a rope. His brother falls and Tracy's only recourse is to grab the rope and hold on for dear life--as you see blood pouring off his torn hands. It's a VERY effective scene. Yet, shortly after, his hands are perfect--not a trace of a wound that should have taken weeks to heal. And, looking at the accident, you'd assume he'd always be seriously scarred by this!! However, at the very end, his hands are all bandaged! Talk about lousy continuity.

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