The more time I spend with the work of Raoul Walsh, the less in love I am with “Pursued,” the 1947 psychological western that helped to make a star of Robert Mitchum. The film’s fatalistic flashback structure and ingrown family romance seem primarily to reflect the Freudian preoccupations of the scenarist, Niven Busch (“Duel in the Sun,” “The Furies”), who wrote the film as a vehicle for his wife, Teresa Wright, than Walsh’s own philosophy of individual self-determination, and the only sequences in this otherwise solemn, brooding film that reveal Walsh’s sense of fun are those too brief scenes involving Allan Hale as Mitchum’s partner in a gambling hall. But even if “Pursued” isn’t personal at its core, it does allow Walsh to develop some ideas with the cinematographer, James Wong Howe, with whom he advanced the art of deep focus staging so spectacuarly in the 1931 “Yellow Ticket,” and the new Blu-ray from Olive Films brings out, among other things, the qualities of the infrared photography that Howe used to create the film’s distinctively low, menacing western skies. There are plenty of Walshians who would disagree, of course — among them Jacques Lourcelles, who wrote “‘Pursued’ is one of the handful of films that definitively demonstrate the powers of the cinema.” So please, let us discuss . . .
Also this week in the New York Times, a look at Bertrand Tavernier’s 1980 “Death Watch,” starring a haunted Romy Schneider, and a quick appraisal of John Boorman’s thoroughly personal debut feature, the oddly depressive 1965 Dave Clark Five vehicle “Having a Wild Weekend.”