I have long awaited this film's conversion to DVD. As a kid I remember so well watching this in black and white on "Saturday Night At The Movies".
The DVD of this film, produced by Olive Films, is a fairly good transfer, although there are some scenes where the color seems to fluctuate...but then again, that may just be a result of the age of the film (well over 50 years). Certainly not enough of a problem to make the movie less enjoyable, although oddly enough, it's the in-studio "mountain climbing" where the color varies the most, not the natural Alps footage. And, considering that much of this movie was actually filmed in the French Alps, well, it's still magnificent Vista Vision photography! And, they do a great job of combining in-studio footage with Alps backgrounds, making this more realistic than many films of its era. Unfortunately, despite being in the Alps and it's snowing...you can't see their breath! Even in Ronald Colman's 1937 film "Lost Horizon" they worked in a large freezer so you could see their breath in the mountain scenes. But again, one really doesn't get lost in these shortcomings, because Spencer Tracy's acting is superb.
There are two problems with this film. First, the age difference between Spencer Tracy and Robert Wagner was not reasonable to make them brothers. Father and son would have been believable, and in my view, would have worked. But then again, in most movies you have to suspend belief in one area or another, so, okay...I can live with it. The other issue here is that Robert Wagner is such a jerk (I was going to say...well, you know) that you not only know he's going to die climbing the mountain, but from the moment early on in the film when he slaps Spencer Tracy in the face, you're rooting for him falling to his death off the mountain! But, okay there, too! ;-)
While we all know that Spencer Tracy wasn't doing the actual mountain climbing here -- he was already 56 and in somewhat declining health -- this must have been a tough movie for him to make. He may not have yet been the lion in winter, but he was certainly well into late autumn. But, over the years, as Tracy aged he only improved. His later years saw most of his finest performances...and this is one.
Robert Wagner was the "pretty boy" in the film, but does reasonably well. The supporting actors are almost irrelevant here, despite some fairly big names (Claire Trevor, for example).
A fine film and a different story...well worth viewing.