The Tracker (1988 film)

Last updated

The Tracker
Screenplay by Kevin Jarre
Directed by John Guillermin
Starring Kris Kristofferson
Scott Wilson
Mark Moses
David Huddleston
Theme music composer Sylvester Levay
Country of originUnited States
United Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
Production
Executive producer Alan Trustman
ProducerLance Hool
Production locationsDurango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Colorado
Bonanza Creek Ranch - 15 Bonanza Creek Lane, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Diablo Canyon, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Eaves Movie Ranch - 105 Rancho Alegre Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Galisteo, New Mexico
San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico
CinematographyGeorge Tirl
Running time98 minutes
Production companies HBO Pictures
ITC Entertainment
Distributor HBO
Release
Original networkHBO
Picture formatColor
Audio format Stereo
Original release
  • March 26, 1988 (1988-03-26)

The Tracker, also known as Dead or Alive in some countries, is a 1988 Western television film directed by John Guillermin, written by Kevin Jarre, and starring Kris Kristofferson, Scott Wilson, Mark Moses, David Huddleston, John Quade and Don Swayze. It premiered on HBO on March 26, 1988. [1] [2] [3]

Contents

It was the 36th and final film directed by Guillermin, before his death in 2015. [4]

Plot

Noble Adams served as a scout in the US Army during the Indian Wars. He resigns and takes his wife and two-year-old son to a farm he has bought. On the way, his wife dies in an accident. His son receives a good education on the east coast and studies law. After his exam Tom returns to his father for a short time. One day Noble is asked by his old friend Marshall Crawford for help in the pursuit of the gang led by John Stillwell, who escaped from the Yuma penitentiary. The bandits murder some people and kidnap two women, a twelve-year-old girl and an Indian. Tom wants to join the persecution. His father is against it, because he is convinced that his son is not up to the strains of the persecution. However, Tom prevails. Noble, his son and the marshal pursue the gang, on which a reward of 500 $ is exposed. They meet a group of bounty hunters who are deserted soldiers. During a sandstorm, the three seek cover behind rocks as best they can. Stillwell and his gang find shelter in a Pueblo (Indian village built into a rock). Because Noble knows that the bandits want to cross the river with the only ferry, they take a tiring shortcut. At the ferry, the bounty hunters get in their way. In the shooting, Stillwell kills the marshal.

Again and again there are conflicts between father and son. The father still lives in an atavistic world, in which life kills by the rule, so that you are not killed dominated. The son has a human behavior shaped by the civilized East Coast. Noble and Tom set another trap for the gang. Noble kills all gang members. Tom has been waiting for Stillwell. He has put his rifle on him and hesitates for a moment. Stillwell takes the girl to his horse. Tom can't shoot anymore. Noble and Tom meet as arranged with Indians, who bring them fresh horses and supplies. The older sister and the father of the girl are also at this meeting point. Noble wants to free the girl alone and follows the trail. Tom suddenly knows where Stillwell will hide. It can only be the Pueblo. He rides straight there. His father frees the girl and captures Stillwell. Stillwell distracts him with a trick and shoots him in the stomach with a hidden Derringer. Stillwell takes the girl on his horse and rides towards Utah. Tom arrives a short time later. His father tells him that he is mortally wounded. Tom promises to free the girl. He poses Stillwell, who surrenders. When Stillwell tries to outsmart him with the same trick, Tom shoots him. When Tom returns to his father, he dies shortly afterwards.

The final picture shows Tom inviting his father's coffin into a train. The two sisters are also on the platform. He promises his older sister, with whom he grew up in his youth, to visit her in a few months.

Cast

Production

The film had been in development for five years. The film was shot on location in Colorado and New Mexico in October 1987 under the title Dead or Alive. [5] [6]

Reception

The Wall Street Journal called it a " handsome, no-nonsense, no-spaghetti western." [7]

The Chicago Tribune said " it's not bad at all." [8]

The Globe and Mail said "The Kristofferson character is straight out of the Eastwood mold but even dirtier than Harry. But what makes him (and the movie) intriguing is his obvious tenderness for his grown son, wonderfully and endearingly played by Mark Moses. Their relationship gives the otherwise formula oater a much needed extra dimension." [9]

An article on Guillermin's career in Film Comment said the film "marks a surprising return to something resembling form." [10] Another in Filmink called it "a polite late ‘80s western... with some baddies kidnapping women and Kristofferson leading a posse, and his son learning the importance of killing people. The dust feels clean. Look, it’s fine." [11]

Related Research Articles

Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer American actor and singer (1927–1959)

Carl Dean Switzer was an American singer, child actor, dog breeder and guide. He was best known for his role as Alfalfa in the short subjects series Our Gang.

<i>Miss Robin Hood</i> 1952 British film

Miss Robin Hood is a 1952 British comedy film directed by John Guillermin, and starring Margaret Rutherford and Richard Hearne. Other actors involved include Dora Bryan, James Robertson Justice, Peter Jones, Sid James, Reg Varney, Kenneth Connor and Michael Medwin. The film features a variety of unusual camera work such as unexpected extreme close-ups and fast motion sequences.

<i>Nevada Smith</i> 1966 film by Henry Hathaway

Nevada Smith is a 1966 American Western film directed by Henry Hathaway and starring Steve McQueen, Karl Malden, Brian Keith, Arthur Kennedy and Suzanne Pleshette. The film was made by Embassy Pictures and Solar Productions, in association with and released by Paramount Pictures. The movie was a prequel to the 1961 Harold Robbins novel The Carpetbaggers, which had been made into a highly successful film two years earlier, with Alan Ladd playing McQueen's part as an older man. Nevada Smith depicts Smith's first meeting with another "Carpetbaggers" character, Jonas Cord Sr., and delves into Nevada Smith's background as summarized in a scene from the original film.

<i>Shaft in Africa</i> 1973 film by John Guillermin

Shaft in Africa is a 1973 American blaxploitation film directed by John Guillermin, and the third film of the Shaft series, starring Richard Roundtree as John Shaft. Stirling Silliphant wrote the screenplay. The cost went up to $2 million, but its gross fell to $1 million. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer quickly sold the property to television, but the television series was cancelled after just seven episodes.

John Cameron Swayze US news commentator and game show panelist

John Cameron Swayze was an American news commentator and game show panelist during the 1940s and 1950s who later became best known as a product spokesman.

<i>Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid</i> 1973 film by Sam Peckinpah

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is a 1973 American Revisionist Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah, written by Rudy Wurlitzer, and starring James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson, Richard Jaeckel, Katy Jurado, Chill Wills, Barry Sullivan, Jason Robards, Slim Pickens and Bob Dylan. The film is about an aging Pat Garrett (Coburn), hired as a lawman by a group of wealthy New Mexico cattle barons to bring down his old friend Billy the Kid (Kristofferson).

<i>Skyjacked</i> (film) 1972 disaster film directed by John Guillermin

Skyjacked is a 1972 American disaster film directed by John Guillermin. The film stars Charlton Heston, James Brolin and Yvette Mimieux, along with an ensemble cast primarily playing the roles of passengers and crew aboard an airliner. Skyjacked is based on the David Harper novel Hijacked.

<i>Neath the Arizona Skies</i> 1934 film

'Neath the Arizona Skies is a 1934 Western film directed by Harry L. Fraser, produced by Lone Star Productions, released by Monogram Pictures and starring John Wayne. Wayne's character attempts to locate a little girl's father, so that she may claim a $50,000 Indian oil claim. The film co-stars Sheila Terry and Shirley Jean Rickert.George "Gabby" Hayes played a featured character with a speaking role, but his name was omitted from the cast list in the opening credits.

<i>Tarzan Goes to India</i> 1962 film by John Guillermin

Tarzan Goes to India (1962) is the first film featuring Jock Mahoney as Tarzan. It was written by Robert Hardy Andrews and directed by John Guillermin, who also directed Tarzan's Greatest Adventure. The film also stars Indian Bollywood actors Feroz Khan, Simi Garewal and Murad in pivotal roles. It was followed by Tarzan's Three Challenges (1963) which was set in Thailand. It was one of two Mahoney films that took Tarzan out of Africa and sent him to the Far East. It was a co-production between Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Jock Mahoney had appeared as the villain in the previous Tarzan film, Tarzan the Magnificent.

<i>Death on the Nile</i> (1978 film) British film

Death on the Nile is a 1978 British mystery film based on Agatha Christie's 1937 novel of the same name, directed by John Guillermin and adapted by Anthony Shaffer. The film features the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, played by Peter Ustinov for the first time, plus an all-star supporting cast that includes Maggie Smith, Angela Lansbury, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Jane Birkin, David Niven, George Kennedy, and Jack Warden. The film is a follow-up to the 1974 film Murder on the Orient Express.

<i>House of Cards</i> (1968 film) 1969 film by John Guillermin

House of Cards is a 1968 American neo-noir crime film directed by John Guillermin and starring George Peppard, Inger Stevens, and Orson Welles. Filmed in France and Italy, it marked the third time that Peppard and Guillermin worked together then PJ.

<i>Troublemakers</i> (1994 film) 1994 Italian film

Troublemakers is a 1994 spaghetti Western comedy film. It is the last pairing of Terence Hill and Bud Spencer.

<i>Never Let Go</i> 1960 British film

Never Let Go is a 1960 British thriller film starring Richard Todd, Peter Sellers and Elizabeth Sellars. It concerns a man's attempt to recover his stolen Ford Anglia car. Sellers plays a London villain, in one of his rare serious roles.

<i>The Crowded Day</i> 1954 British film

The Crowded Day is a 1954 British comedy drama film directed by John Guillermin and starring John Gregson, Joan Rice, Cyril Raymond and Josephine Griffin. The film follows a group of shopgirls working in Bunting and Hobbs, a London department store, during the Christmas shopping season. It was an attempt by Adelphi Films to move into bigger budgeted films. It was the last movie Guillermin directed for the company. It was released in the United States under the title Shop Spoiled.

<i>Town on Trial</i> 1957 British film

Town on Trial is a 1957 British mystery film directed by John Guillermin and starring John Mills, Charles Coburn, Barbara Bates and Derek Farr. A whole town comes under suspicion when two grisly murders are carried out—particularly members of the local sports club.

<i>Torment</i> (1950 British film) 1950 British film

Torment, is a 1950 British thriller film directed by John Guillermin and starring Dermot Walsh, Rona Anderson and John Bentley.

<i>Four Days</i> (film) 1951 British film

Four Days is a 1951 British drama film directed by John Guillermin. It was based on a play of the same name by Monckton Hoffe.

<i>Rapture</i> (1965 film) 1965 French film

Rapture is a 1965 drama film directed by John Guillermin, and starring Melvyn Douglas, Patricia Gozzi, and Dean Stockwell. It is reportedly Guillermin's own favorite among his films. His widow Mary said it "was the only film he directed that wholly satisfied his vision as an artist."

John Guillermin French-British film director, writer and producer (1925–2015)

John Guillermin was a French-British film director, writer and producer who was most active in big budget, action adventure films throughout his lengthy career.

<i>Waltz of the Toreadors</i> (film) 1962 British film

Waltz of the Toreadors is a 1962 film directed by John Guillermin and starring Peter Sellers and Dany Robin. It was based on the play of the same name by Jean Anouilh with the location changed from France to England. It was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best British Screenplay, in 1963.

References

  1. Kristie Hassen. "The Tracker (1988) - John Guillermin | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related". AllMovie. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  2. Mayer, Geoff (2003). Guide to British Cinema - Geoff Mayer - Google Books. ISBN   9780313303074 . Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  3. "Dead Or Alive (1988) - Overview". TCM.com. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  4. John Guillermin, 'Towering Inferno' Director, Dies at 89 SLOTNIK, DANIEL E. New York Times (Online), New York: New York Times Company. Oct 1, 2015.
  5. THE MOVIE CHART: [Home Edition] Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]18 Oct 1987: 41.
  6. 'Magic of the Silver Box' for The Tracker Lee, Nora. American Cinematographer; Hollywood Vol. 69, Iss. 3, (Mar 1988): 58-64,66.
  7. TV Preview: Lincoln, Darrow, Dickens, Rumpole By Martha Bayles. Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition; New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]17 Mar 1988: 1.
  8. HONEST, ABE HAS LOOKED BETTER: [SPORTS FINAL, C Edition] Clifford Terry, TV/radio critic. Chicago Tribune 25 Mar 1988: 5.
  9. Schlesinger looks at his homeland Czechoslovakia through native eyes JOHN HASLETT CUFF. The Globe and Mail; Toronto, Ont. [Toronto, Ont]20 Aug 1988: C.3.
  10. Savage Spectacles Möller, Olaf. Film Comment; New York Vol. 50, Iss. 1, (Jan/Feb 2014): 20-21.
  11. Vagg, Stephen (November 17, 2020). "John Guillermin: Action Man". Filmink.