Track of the Cat (1954) Robert Mitchum, Teresa Wright, Diana Lynn, Tab Hunter, Beulah Bondi Movie Review

Track of the Cat (1954)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Robert Mitchum in Track of the Cat (1954)

A Bit Black & White to Me

Up in the hills near Aspen lives the Bridges family; Ma (Beulah Bondi), Pa (Philip Tonge), their 3 boys Curt (Robert Mitchum), Harold (Tab Hunter) and Arthur (William Hopper) along with Grace (Teresa Wright). Also at the home is old Indian Joe Sam (Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer) and a guest Gwen Williams (Diana Lynn) who Harold has feelings for. But there is a lot of tension in the Bridges' home as Ma has quite an acid tongue whilst Curt bosses all the men around especially Arthur which doesn't go down well with Grace. With Curt and Arthur heading out to hunt down a black panther attacking their cattle things only get worse especially as Ma doesn't like the fact that Harold might leave with Grace.

I have to be honest and tell that "Track of the Cat" didn't do a great deal for me despite having an appealing cast, in fact that is one of the movie's biggest lures as the cast draw you in to watch. And the reason why "Track of the Cat" didn't do a great deal for me is that it ends up feeling a bit like a passion project, the sort of movie made by someone who fell in love with a story and didn't really care whether or not audiences felt the same about the finished project as they did or couldn't see how anyone wouldn't love the story as much as they did. I think part of the trouble is that whilst we have some action and danger with the panther on the prowl much of the movie feels like it is about the dynamics between the characters which whilst clear to see is not that fascinating.

Tab Hunter in Track of the Cat (1954)

What also makes me believe that "Track of the Cat" was a passion project is that there is some thing a little experimental about it. Take the inside of the house the Bridges live in, it is predominantly dark and light, white cupboards with black hinges, black chairs next to a white table clothe and on the table are white condiments. But then you get splashes of colour such as Curt's red coat and Gwen's lime green blouse which causes you to focus upon them more than others due to their almost monochrome attire. Even the exteriors as we have the snow covered mountains with the trees looking black against them extends this almost two tone styling with just a hint of blue appearing in the daytime sky.

Interestingly what makes "Track of the Cat" just about watch able for those who find it a little not what they expected is that each of the actors involved deliver strong performances. I wouldn't be surprised if the likes of Mitchum and Wright enjoyed characters which weren't cut using the same mould that other characters they had played had been cut with. But again the characters whilst well acted are not the most engaging because pretty much everyone has an agenda they are working to.

What this all boils down to is that "Track of the Cat" didn't work for me because in truth it wasn't what I was expecting. But maybe for those who enjoyed these character driven movies with plenty of conflict will find it a lot more interesting.