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Track of the Cat (Special Collector's Editon)

36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Tough guy Robert Mitchum stalks a panther that killed his younger brother (William Hopper) while his snowbound family begins to disintegrate. Directed by four-time Oscar nominee William Wellman ("The Ox-Bow Incident," "The High and The Mighty").

You never see the title character in William Wellman's Track of the Cat--a black panther terrorizing the land and herd of a frontier family--which is just one of the many bold strokes of this ambitious movie. The intruder claims not merely cattle but also one family member, so middle son (and unquestioned alpha male) Robert Mitchum goes out in the dead of winter to bag the cat. Meanwhile, the tensions inside the ranch house are distilled from Greek tragedy with a large dollop of Freud: harridan mother Beulah Bondi (good performance) wants her sons to remain unmarried, despite the fact that youngest boy Tab Hunter has fallen for a forward lass played by Diana Lynn. Teresa Wright--almost unrecognizable as the spinster sister--speaks for sanity and modern thinking. Track is the second film Wellman made from a novel by Walter Van Tilburg Clark; the first was The Ox-Bow Incident, that equally serious and offbeat Western about lynch violence. For this one, Wellman admitted that one of his motivations was a long-held desire to make a color film that was essentially black-and-white; the snowy backdrops of the exteriors (shot spectacularly around Washington State's Mount Rainier) offered that chance. It's a very exactingly directed movie, both indoors and out, and qualifies as an experiment in mise-en-scene; but experiments in mise-en-scene have rarely translated into box-office success, and Track of the Cat was no exception. One problem: despite Mitchum's robust presence, his solitary journey (which could be covered in interior monologue in a novel) is rather inscrutable. The spiky script is by A.I. Bezzerides, who would do Kiss Me, Deadly a year later. By the way, Wellman later regretted not showing the cat--but he was right the first time. It's an eerie touch in a movie that gets under your skin. --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • "A New Kind of Western: The Writing of Walter Van Tilburg Clark" featurette
  • "Remembering William Wellman" featurette
  • "Black Diamond" featurette
  • "Tracking the Cat" featurette
  • Photo Gallery
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Batjac Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Mitchum, Teresa Wright, Diana Lynn, Tab Hunter, Beulah Bondi
  • Directors: William A. Wellman
  • Writers: A.I. Bezzerides, Walter Van Tilburg Clark
  • Producers: John Wayne, Robert Fellows
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Collector's Edition, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 4.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: June 6, 2006
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BDH6E4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,804 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Track of the Cat (Special Collector's Editon)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Terence Allen VINE VOICE on November 14, 2005
Format: DVD
Robert Mitchum helped to introduce the psychological western in the landmark film Pursued. In Track of the Cat, he continued to chart new territory for what was already a well-worn genre in 1954.

Track of The Cat, set on Mount Ranier, features Mitchum as the forceful head of a very disfunctional family in the waning days of the 1800's. Mitchum is the middle child, but runs roughshod over his gentle older brother, played by William Hopper (Paul Drake of TV's Perry Mason), and his younger, unconfidant brother, played by 50's heartthrob Tab Hunter. The rest of the family is a spinsterish sister, played by Teresa Wright, (who was in Pursued with Mitchum), and overbearing mother and alcoholic father, played by Beulah Bondi and Philip Tonge.
When a mountain lion begins to attach their cattle, Mitchum and Hooper start out on a lion hunt. Back home, Hunter is trying to navigate an uneasy visit by his girfriend, who is welcomed by half the family and disliked by the other half. Much drama and tragedy ensues.

The predominant use of black and white by director William Wellman is very effective, but it would have been wasted without such a great cast. Everyone is excellent, particularly Mitchum, Bondi, and Tonge, who played comic relief with great effect.

This is a great film long overdue on DVD.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jason Crawford on April 29, 2007
Format: DVD
Absolutely everyone in this movie was sensational. Everyone! Even the scary "so called" Indian Joe Sam. But Tab Hunter really held his own against the more seasoned and less handsome star - Robert Mitchum. I have watched this movie over and over for years, but when I saw it on DVD - on AMAZON, it was well worth buying this copy. The commentary is excellent and Tab so funny and charming disucssing his feelings about the director and his costars. I really enjoyed the lady who discussed how training the horse who played "Kentuck" as well as other horses trained in Hollywood. She was really good too. I keep hearing people say - "But we didn't get to see the cat!" And hearing Mr. Wellman's son say his dad sort of regretted not showing us the "black panther" was a mistake, I have to disagree. When the cat kills "Arthur" in the movie - having his reaction to knowing he was about to die and seeing the fear in his eyes and not seeing the cat was perfect! I like not seeing the cat, it makes me wonder really how big was this cat really. I like the old saying - less is more - it really gives us an impression the way the old films did. They gave us more imagination. This is lost in today's movie making. I sure would suggest you buy this movie, it's well worth it and Tab Hunter is great in everything he does.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Mills Poulson on February 18, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
My Uncle Ken (a trapper) who lives in the outback of South Dakota asked me to find this film for him. The only place I could find it was here. I received it in 2 days and immediately sent it to Ken who was not only surprised that I could find it, but that he got it so fast. With the heavy snows this winter, he tends his traps in the days and snuggles down in the evenings. He loved the movie--same as he remembered from 55 years ago at the movie house! On his first two days warming by the fire he watched it 3X in a row! Yes there are people who still live like this....hey, he's got electricity, running water, an indoor toilet (in addition to the old "pit" in out back), and a DVD player---What else could anyone want? LOL! 5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scott T. Rivers VINE VOICE on July 6, 2014
Format: DVD
Director William A. Wellman's flawed but fascinating psychological drama — highlighted by a great Robert Mitchum performance and William H. Clothier's striking "black-and-white" color photography. "Track of the Cat" (1954) is experimental filmmaking in a mainstream context. Not for all tastes, but worthy of its belated cult following.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
first saw movie when I was around thirteen, made an impression on me even then. Very dark, little or no light moments.
How true might such be to real life? One wonders and I suppose in getting us to ponder life the director has achieved his aim.
Was the movie entertaining, not altogether yet Tab Hunter was perfectly adequate in his role and revealed a physique both athletic and easy on the eye. Mitchum's role was tough, he was tough, everything the author could have been looking for. The cast was splendid, dear old Dad, a drunkard but a pleasant drunk, he may have been the only one able to laugh at life, after all he kept a steady supply of booze on hand, that can help.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cody Robert at Spokane on January 12, 2014
Format: DVD
This is a Guilty Pleasure to be sure, but there you have it. Live with it. Wellman's long career invites comparison with those of two of his cohorts, the slightly senior Allan Dwan and the slightly junior Delmer Daves. All three excelled in a bewildering variety of genres, all three enjoyed lengthy careers, and all three bestowed upon us many Guilty Pleasures. They are remembered today for all the wrong reasons, and all the wrong films.

Wellman delivered solid Warners gangster pictures, aviation epics that have worn far better than those of Hawks, and offbeat Westerns that were surprisingly progressive for their era. Too, there is Miss Stanwyck's ecdysiast film which is actually a murder mystery and the sadly neglected and underrated THE GREAT MAN'S LADY which is one of the choicest Stanwyck-McCrea pairings. It is a Guilty Pleasure, no less than WESTWARD THE WOMEN which is--you guessed it--a protofeminist Western.

1954 was a busy year for Wellman, nearing retirement, and his energy entering into his seventh decade is prodigal: THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY and ISLAND IN THE SKY, both John Wayne aviation suspensers; this TRACK OF THE CAT is Wellman's second, and better, adaptation from Walter Van Tilburg Clark. The second unit was dispatched to Mt. Rainier to shoot muted-color snowscapes (the Sierra Nevada were not foreboding enough) and back in Burbank Wellman assembled a splendid ensemble cast. Mitchum, always watchable, is teamed again with the great Teresa Wright, Beulah Bondi reliably does her cranky matriarch thing yet again, William Hopper girds his loins for Nick Ray and REBEL, and even Diana Lynn and Tab Hunter register in fairly thankless roles.
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