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In November 1953, Daily Variety reported that Paramount had bought the film rights to Henri Troyat's novel for producer Mel Epstein. It has not been determined, however, if Epstein actually worked on the project. The Mountain marked actor Spencer Tracy's first film after the termination of his contract with M-G-M, for which he had worked for over two decades, though Hollywood Reporter news items mistakenly state that the actor was obtained on loanout by Paramount from M-G-M. (For more information on the events which led to Tracy's break with M-G-M, see the entry for Tribute to a Bad Man below.)
According to Los Angeles Times, portions of the film were shot on location in the French Alps, including the resort area of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. Hollywood Reporter news items report that the entire population of La Tour-du-Pin was hired to appear in The Mountain, in exchange for an unspecified payment by Paramount to the village's school and church funds. Hollywood Reporter news items and production charts include Onslow Stevens and Camille Guerni in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The Mountain marked the feature film debut of actress Anna Kashfi.
According to modern sources, Tracy had asked M-G-M to purchase the Troyat novel in the early 1950s, but was turned down by the studio's executives, who told him that the story would be too expensive to film. Modern sources also claim that Tracy insisted that Robert Wagner be cast in the role of his brother, "Chris Teller," despite a difference of thirty years in the two actors' ages. The two had previously worked together on the 1954 Twentieth Century-Fox production Broken Lance, which was also directed by Edward Dmytryk. Modern sources also reported that Tracy and Wagner were nearly killed while on location in the French Alps when the funicular cable car they were riding to the top of Aiguille du Midi slipped off its cable.