Bleak western has dysfunctional family fearing a black panth
Neil F. Doyle | USA | 09/16/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"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 muted color with Mitchum's red jacket dominating the screen, tends to be a somber and talky character-driven tale exploring deeper meanings but never quite connecting with them.
The performances are standard except for Mitchum who does a believable job as the loutish oldest brother in an underwritten role. 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. She's almost unrecognizable as the spinsterish sister, 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 and plays the majority of his scenes with nothing more than a solemn gaze.
A fairly interesting, harsh, character-driven tale that should have been much more effective with better dialog and family dynamics.
Great movie, with mitchum!
Dark Vince | Johnson City, TN USA | 08/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a Bob Mitchum fan, and this film is another great performance, with a great cast including Tab Hunter. Gorgeous cinemtography, with striking use of color. Another film version of a Walter Van Tillburg Clark novel, by same director who filmed Clark's "The Ox-Bow Incident." Recommended.