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Track of the Cat (1954)

 -  Drama | Western  -  27 November 1954 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,187 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 11 critic

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 ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Curt Bridges
...
Grace Bridges
...
Gwen Williams
...
Harold Bridges
...
Ma Bridges
Philip Tonge ...
Pa Bridges
...
Arthur Bridges
...
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:

Language:

Release Date:

27 November 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

William A. Wellman's Track of the Cat  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(35 mm optical prints)| (35 mm magnetic prints) (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer was only 26 when he played the elderly Joe Sam. 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: Got to keep drunk to forget I'm married to a clothes pin.
See more »

Connections

Remake of The Big Cat (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An interesting failure, but too often better in theory than execution
8 July 2006 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

William Wellman's long unavailable Track of the Cat finally makes it to DVD in a good but not exceptional widescreen transfer. Sadly, it proves to be one of those films better remembered than seen, failing to live up to fond memory and revealing itself to be an ambitious but largely unsuccessful experiment. William Clothier's Scope "black and white" color cinematography is largely successful, especially in the surprisingly few location scenes, but the art direction on the all-too obviously artificial studio sets makes it feel like two distinctly different movies: a stagebound pseudo Eugene O'Neill drama about a house of secrets torn apart by a long day's journey into light and an assembly of second-unit footage of Robert Mitchum adrift in a snowy landscape as his bravado and ego break down in the face of an unseen enemy (in this case a deadly "painter") and hostile elements. Unfortunately we get far more of the homestead theatrics than the tracking, and there's none of the menace and dripping dread so prevalent in the novel.

It's not exactly a bad film, and once you get past the wildly overlong and stagey opening 22 minutes it picks up steam, but it's hard to shake the feeling of a missed opportunity here. Mitchum, Tab Hunter and Teresa Wright all offer good performances, but Val Lewton or Charles Laughton could have made so much more of it.

The extras package on Paramount's R1 DVD is good, although there's surprisingly little about the actual making of the film aside from the excellent audio commentary and the theatrical trailer advertised on the sleeve is nowhere to be found on the disc itself.


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