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 »
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
Robert Mitchum (as Curt) stars as bullying, titular head of the arguing Bridges family, electing himself over both parents, and brothers Tab Hunter (as Hal) and William Hopper (as Arthur). In the dead of winter, the family is threatened by a marauding mountain lion; the animal must be destroyed before it eats the Bridges family. Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer (as "Chief" Joe Sam) is the Bridges' ranchhand; the mountain lion killed his entire family some years ago.
This is an exceedingly slow-moving and pretentiously written "psychological drama". The direction (William A. Wellman ) and photography (William H. Clothier) might be its most interesting feature. The Bridges' home is decorated in blacks and whites, but shot in color; this highlights the actors' complexions, and an occasional symbolic item, like Mr. Mitchum's red jacket. Due to the "black and white in color" gimmick, or in spite of it, the film looks beautiful. But nothing can MOVE the "Track of the Cat" story, making the the film merely an interesting experiment. Beulah Bondi (as Ma) and Teresa Wright (as sister Grace) might fascinate fans. Surprisingly, Tab Hunter offers the film's leading performance; emerging as the film's focus.
***** Track of the Cat (11/27/54) William A. Wellman ~ Robert Mitchum, Tab Hunter, Teresa Wright, Beulah Bondi
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