The Mountain is a rare Spencer Tracy film made in 1956. ST is playing a simple man who performs a rare and difficult feat which belies his age and seeming abilities. This same role is recreated by ST as a different character in 1958 in The Old Man and The Sea. Spencer played the Old Man. A large body of water known as the Atlantic ocean near Cuba and a big pool in a studio at Warner Bros. doubled as The Sea.
In The Mountain, Spencer plays a retired climber who tends his sheep in a small village. His brother, played by a very young Robert Wagner, hates the place. He wants to move to the big city. He wants to chase girls. He dislikes farm animals. Especially sheep. He gets very upset when they have the gall to actually enter the living room. He longs for DVDs, Facebook and on-line banking. But since none of these things existed at the time his primary form of entertainment is his brother waking him up at 4 AM to help with the milking. He hates milking. Especially sheep milking.
A plane crashes on the great mountain mentioned in the title. ST won’t climb anymore, but a rescue team sets out anyway, fails miserably and faces disaster during their attempt. RW gets an idea. Climb the mountain and rob all the dead people of their belongings. He would put reverse mortgages on their homes but they didn’t exist then either. About a half hour of arguing with his brother who “doesn’t climb anymore” eventually leads to a two man expedition. This is the only way RW will shut up and quit slapping ST who, if he wanted to, could pop RW’s head like an egg despite their age difference.
Beautifully filmed in Chamonix France, the locations and photography are gorgeous. Daniele Amfitheatrof provided the best score of his career for the majestic background music. His soaring theme will leave an impression. It did on me. You’re next.
While way too melodramatic, TM was a great Spencer Tracy vehicle utilizing his fine acting skills and persona. Although already a veteran actor at 26, Robert W. tends to ham it up as the villain. He just looks too innocent to be this nasty. RW has lived to become one of America’s most treasured actors. Now 81, RW continues to work on. He will take on the role of Charlie in a new TV series version of Charlie’s Angels which premiers in September. He also has a role in a film called The Summoning which is in pre-production. Bob can also be seen selling reverse mortgages in TV ads. Now that they exist. What’s wrong with forward mortgages?
Finally on DVD, well worth a look even with the long talky sequences and the melodramatic shenanigans.
Rated 3.0 out of 4.0 summit attempts.