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The Mountain (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A greedy many pressures his retired, mounting climbing older brother to help him scale Mont Blanc in order to loot the dead bodies of a place crash.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Director Edward Dmytryk, one of the so-called “Hollywood Ten” (a group of filmmakers who refused to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee during the “Red Scare”) directed The Mountain in 1956. Fundamentally, the film is flawed just due to the heavy lift required to suspended disbelief and accept that 55-year-old Spencer Tracy and 25-year-old Robert Wagner are brothers – not that it’s impossible.

When a plane crashes in near the top of Mont Blanc in the French Alps, Christopher Teller (Wagner) asks his older brother, skilled mountain-climber Zachary (Tracy) to help him get up the mountain so he can go rob the dead bodies. Zachary is appalled at the idea, but after being browbeat by his brother, Zachary relents and helps his brother make the treacherous climb. When they finally reach the plane, they surprisingly find one survivor, an Indian woman, clinging to her life. Christopher wants to abandon her, but Zachary wants to rescue her.

The sumptuous cinematography of Franz Planer and Edward Dmytryk’s direction during the mountain climbing sequences are reason alone to watch The Mountain, even as Ranald MacDougall’s screenplay is on the nose. It sets up a good versus evil, the betterment of all versus the greed of one scenario that Dmytryk dives into with little nuance. Wagner, still in his teen idol phase, does not hold his own next to Tracy who manages to wrestle something workable out of the banal material and make something worthwhile out of it.

  • Spencer Tracy in The Mountain (1956)
  • Robert Wagner and Spencer Tracy in The Mountain (1956)
  • Robert Wagner in The Mountain (1956)
  • Spencer Tracy in The Mountain (1956)
  • Robert Wagner in The Mountain (1956)
  • Spencer Tracy and Claire Trevor in The Mountain (1956)
  • Robert Wagner in The Mountain (1956)
  • Robert Wagner and Spencer Tracy in The Mountain (1956)
  • Robert Wagner and Spencer Tracy in The Mountain (1956)
  • Spencer Tracy and Claire Trevor in The Mountain (1956)
  • Spencer Tracy, William Demarest, Jim Hayward, E.G. Marshall, and Claire Trevor in The Mountain (1956)
  • Spencer Tracy and Anna Kashfi in The Mountain (1956)
  • Spencer Tracy and Anna Kashfi in The Mountain (1956)
  • The Mountain (1956) – Imprint Collection #198
  • The Mountain (1956) – Imprint Collection #198

The Video

Imprint serves up The Mountain in a 1.78:1 AVC 1080p encodement on Blu-ray Disc. Checking on the technical details of this original VistaVision production from Paramount the original aspect ratio was 1.85:1, so this is not in its original ratio. The color palette does ‘pop,’ especially Tracy’s red shirt and the vivid blue of Wagner’s cap, but there is some haloing in the imagery and softness in many of the frames that diminishes the depth-of-field. That said, there are also plenty of scenes that look sterling, with clear detail free from the random source damage, softness, and some other issues that hinder this transfer.

The Audio

The original mono mix for The Mountain is provided in LPCM 2.0. The sound is relatively good given the 1956 vintage offering clear dialogue and somewhat full sound effects.

The Supplements

The new audio commentary and new interview with Wagner are welcome inclusions in this release from Imprint.

  • Audio commentary by film historian Howard Berger (NEW)
  • Above the Precipice – actor Robert Wagner Remembers 20th Century Fox, Spencer Tracy and The Mountain (1080i; 00:25:53) (NEW)
  • Director Edward Dmytryk on the “Hollywood Ten” – 1990 interview (1080i; 00:24:44)
  • Limited Edition slipcase on the first 1500 copies with unique artwork

The Final Assessment

The Mountain may not be one of the best films around, but this is a good reissue to rediscover a lesser-known film.


The Mountain (1956) – Imprint Collection #198 is out on Blu-ray in Australia February 22, 2023. It is available for purchase on the Via Vision Entertainment/Imprint Films website among other places.


  • Studios & Distributors: Paramount Pictures | Via Vision Entertainment | Imprint Films
  • Director: Edward Dmytryk
  • Written By: Ranald MacDougall (screenplay by) | Henri Troyat (based on the novel by)
  • Run Time: 105 Mins.
  • Street Date: 22 February 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English LPCM 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English
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A greedy many pressures his retired, mounting climbing older brother to help him scale Mont Blanc in order to loot the dead bodies of a place crash.The Mountain (Blu-ray Review)