Out of the Past: The Films of Robert Mitchum

Home from the Hill

Vincente MinnelliUSA150 minutes1960ColourEnglish

Feb 11
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    Robert Mitchum gets the role of a lifetime as the toxic patriarch of a wealthy Texan clan in one of Hollywood's finest and most moving family dramas. A veritable icon of Lone Star State virility, Mitchum's Wade Hunnicutt is a sexually voracious, big game-hunting good ol' boy whose long-suffering wife (Eleanor Parker) has long abandoned his bed to dedicate herself to their sensitive, bookish only child Theron (George Hamilton), whom Wade mocks as unmanly in contrast to their staggeringly handsome helping hand Rafe Copley (George Peppard). The psychological warfare between the two parents flares into tragedy when Wade finally gets his clutches on the tremulous Theron, teaching him to hunt and pursue women in the same predatory manner his dad has always employed. Inevitably, this being a Texarkana version of a Greek tragedy, fate prevails and the dark secrets of the past return to wreak violent vengeance. The striking use of CinemaScope alone makes Home from the Hill a masterpiece, while the film's heart-rending, cemetery-set finale calls for a tissue or six.