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The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973)

Western story about a defiant wife who leaves her husband to take up riding with outlaws.


Marilyn Durham (novel), Eleanor Perry (screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
Burt Reynolds ... Jay Grobart
Sarah Miles ... Catherine Crocker
Lee J. Cobb ... Harvey Lapchance
Jack Warden ... Dawes
George Hamilton ... Willard Crocker
Bo Hopkins ... Billy Bowen
Robert Donner ... Dub
Sandy McPeak ... Ben (as Sandy Kevin)
Larry Littlebird Larry Littlebird ... Iron Knife
Nancy Malone ... Sudie
Jay Silverheels ... The Chief
Jay Varela ... Charlie Bent
Owen Bush Owen Bush ... Conductor
Larry Finley ... Bartender
Sutero García Jr. Sutero García Jr. ... Dream Speaker


It's the frontier of the American west. Shortly after being released from prison where he was serving a sentence for murder, Jay Grobart leads a band of three other men - Dawes, Billy Bowen and an Indian named Charlie Bent - in robbing a train of its Wells Fargo cargo of $100,000. In their escape from the scene, they are forced out of circumstance to take along a young woman, against her will, she who is traveling by herself on horseback. She is Mrs. Willard Crocker - Catherine - who they can tell is wealthy. Although they do not let her go, she vows that she will not tell the authorities about them as she, like them, is running away. As Jay, the leader, embarks on his next mission - to fulfill the reason he stole the money - he has the problems of managing the three men, Dawes and Billy in particular who are solely out for their own selfish wants which now includes their carnal wants with Catherine, and making sure Catherine does not escape. But as they spend more time together and ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Two women loved him. One died for him. One killed for him.


Romance | Western


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

31 October 1973 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

A férfi, aki szerette a táncoló macskát See more »

Filming Locations:

Ajo, Arizona, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:



Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Burt Reynolds once,owned a racehorse which he called " Cat Dancing ". See more »


During the opening credits Catherine is riding "side saddle" but her legs are both on the right side of the horse, which is the "wrong" side for an English ladies' saddle. The film is flopped in this shot as later she has her legs on the proper side. See more »


Jay: [to Catherine, at the campsite] Make some coffee.
Catherine Crocker: I don't want to make coffee, thank you...
Jay: I don't give a damn what you want. Make some coffee.
Catherine Crocker: [Fumbling with the coffee pot, obviously clueless] I don't know how to make coffee. I'm sorry.
See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: At Long Last Love (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Decent Western story about a refined lady/Sarah Miles who joins a gang of robbers led by Burt Reynolds
1 December 2016 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This exciting Western is a reasonable engaging tale in which a wealthy woman traveling by herself on horseback leaves her husband to take up riding with outlaws who have robbed a safe . At first , after a chance encounter , a beautiful lady called Catherine Crocker (Sarah Miles) recently escaped from her abusive hubby becomes involved with a band of train robbers led by Jay Grobart (Burt Reynolds , this was one of his first romantic love-stories on the screen) and three other men : Dawes (Jack Warden) , Billy Bowen (Bo Hopkins) and an Indian named Charlie Bent (Varela) who have carried out a robbing a train of its Wells Fargo cargo of $100,000 . In their escape from the crime scene they are chased by a motley group of bounty hunters . Jay has the ordinary problems of managing the three bandits , Dawes and Billy in particular who want to rape the attractive lady . In meantime , they are pursued by a posse led by the tough Harvey Lapchance (Lee J. Cobb), including a mining executive , Willard Crocker (George Hamilton) who results to be Catherine's husband . But the go-riding gets harder , as the bunch fall out among themselves and things go worse .

The plot is plain and simple , a dangerous gang on the lam are forced out of circumstance to take along an elegant lady -who holds a dark secret- , against her will , as she , like them , is running away ; while she is harassed and finally falls in love with the main star . As the picture reveals itself to be a romance and a throughly love story . The phrase "Cat Dancing" of the film and source novel's title refers to the name of the first wife of this movie's central character Jay performed by Burt Reynolds . It's a love on the run in which the protagonists , Jay/Burt and Catherine/Sarah , along the journey learn more about what is under the surface , and both of whom start to fall for each other ; as their tragic pasts coming close to making us care . Good interpretation all around . Burt Reynolds gives a passable acting as an outlaw on the run after avenging his spouse's murder and who has a posse on his trail . Burt Reynolds and Jack Warden apparently insisted on doing their own stunts for this movie . That's why the production filming was shut-down for a week when the movie's star Burt Reynolds was injured on the set from a stunt fight with Jack Warden . This movie is one of a number of screen westerns that Burt Reynolds made during the mid-late 1960s and early 1970s , these movie westerns include Navajo Joe (1966) ; 100 rifles (1969) ; Sam Whisky (1969) and this one . Sarah Miles is acceptable as Catherine Crocker , she was only cast in the lead role just a short time before production started shooting . Support cast is pretty good , such as : the good-looking George Hamilton as Willard Crocker , Lee J . Cobb as Harvey Lapchance , the investigator for Wells Fargo who has a posse of men on their command . Furthermore , Bo Hopkins , Robert Donner , Nancy Malone and Jay Silverheels who played several times the Indian role . Michel Legrand was originally hired to compose the musical score for the film but studio executives informed him that his score was not what they felt the film needed and that he was being dismissed, being replaced by the great John Williams . It packs a colorful and evocative cinematography by Harry Stradling Jr.

The motion picture was professionally directed by Richard C Sarafian , though Steven Spielberg William Norton and Brian G. Hutton both declined offers to direct this movie , as Sarafian became this movie's director after the original director left the project . Sarafian was a good craftsman . While employed as a reporter in Kansas City , he met the director, Robert Altman, who hired Sarafian as his assistant. Sarafian has a fruitful career making TV episodes and films and directing a classic iconic movie : Vanishing Point¨ (1971) , as his car chase sequence served as inspiration for Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof (2007) . Richard portrayed two real-life Mafia figures: Jack Dragna in ¨Bugsy¨ (1991) and Paul Castellano in ¨Gotti¨ (1996). And directed a lot of dramas and thrillers as ¨Gangster Wars¨ , ¨The next man¨, ¨Solar Crisis¨, ¨Run Wild , Run Free¨, ¨Terror at Black falls¨, ¨Fragment of Fear¨ , ¨Street Justice¨ and ¨Eye of the tiger¨

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