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Track of the Cat (1954)

Approved | | Drama, Western | 19 November 1954 (USA)
Around the turn of the 20th century, during a harsh northern California winter, members of a ranching family are squabbling among themselves while the two oldest sons go hunting for a panther that is killing their livestock.

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writers:

A.I. Bezzerides (screenplay), Walter Van Tilburg Clark (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Mitchum ... Curt Bridges
Teresa Wright ... Grace Bridges
Diana Lynn ... Gwen Williams
Tab Hunter ... Harold Bridges
Beulah Bondi ... Ma Bridges
Philip Tonge ... Pa Bridges
William Hopper ... Arthur Bridges
Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer ... Joe Sam (as Carl Switzer)
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Storyline

A family saga: In a stunning mountain valley ranch setting near Aspen, complex and dangerous family dynamics play out against the backdrop of the first big snowstorm of winter and an enormous panther with seemingly mythical qualities which is killing cattle. An arrogant, pitiless son (Robert Mitchum) and a rigid pharisaic mother side against a moral eldest son and and a defeated alcoholic father while the youngest son tries to lay low, hoping against hope to persuade his family to allow him to marry a girl he has brought to visit. The girl however draws venomous condemnation and the two elder brothers set out in the midst of a violent snowstorm on a dangerous mission to kill the deadly panther. Written by Jasha

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Human Emotion Stripped Raw!

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 November 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

William A. Wellman's Track of the Cat See more »

Filming Locations:

White Mountains, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (35 mm optical prints)| 4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints) (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William A. Wellman had always intended to direct what he described as a black and white movie in color. See more »

Goofs

They say the story takes place in Aspen Colorado but when they talk about the local area they are speaking of Pyramid lake ,the Fremont expedition and Placerville witch all of them are in California. See more »

Quotes

Pa Bridges: Some thievin' female's stolen my bottle.
See more »

Connections

Remake of The Big Cat (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dysfunctional family saga could have been a stronger film...
15 September 2007 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

A disturbingly dysfunctional family is at the heart of TRACK OF THE CAT, which tries to impose symbolic significance on the threat of the creature that is being stalked by the two oldest brothers. But the tale, filmed in monotonous B&W style with only highlights of real color allowed, is somber, tedious and talky.

The performances are standard except for Mitchum who does a believable job as the loutish oldest brother. TERESA WRIGHT, DIANA LYNN and TAB HUNTER do fairly standard work, under William A. Wellman's slow-paced direction.

It's a stark and brooding story of an isolated farm family living in a remote area and haunted by the symbolic "cat" of the title. Photographed in muted WarnerColor with effective background music by Roy Webb, its somber wintry atmosphere is well captured in the opening scene but becomes tedious before the story reaches a midway point because a real connection with the troubled characters is never really made.

All the cast members have done better work elsewhere. It's hard to believe how matronly and severe TERESA WRIGHT became for this role, only a few years beyond her delicate work as a leading lady in many films of the '40s. WILLIAM HOPPER is effective as Mitchum's outspoken brother.

All the interiors are filmed in a style that seems more like a filmed play than a film. BEULAH BONDI as the embittered mother manages to give some gravitas to the story. ROBERT MITCHUM gives his usual sturdy and colorful performance as the oldest son hellbent on tracking a killer cat. TAB HUNTER as the weakest younger brother has less to work with.

A fairly interesting, harsh, character-driven tale that should have been much more effective with better dialog and family dynamics.


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