Track of the Cat (1954) - Rotten Tomatoes

Track of the Cat (1954)

Track of the Cat





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Track of the Cat Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

In this experimental 1954 Western, director William Wellman uses black-and-white backgrounds with occasional splatches of color on certain characters' bodies and clothes. On a snowbound ranch in northern California, the Bridges family is trapped by winter weather and its own internal conflicts. It is run by a stern matriarch, Ma Bridges (Beulah Bondi), who lords it over her weak, alcoholic husband (Philip Tonge) and her bitter, unmarried daughter, Grace (Teresa Wright). The three sons squabble constantly. Staying at the ranch is a young neighbor, Gwen Williams (Diana Lynn), who is smitten with one of the sons, Harold (Tab Hunter). But the arrogant Curt (Robert Mitchum) wants to take control of the ranch and take possession of Gwen too. During the winter, a black panther has been killing the cattle on the ranch. Curt and the third brother, the quiet Arthur (William Hopper), set out to kill the panther, but when Curt leaves to get more food, the cat kills Arthur. The grief-stricken family blames Curt, who then sets out on his own to kill the beast.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Western, Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: A.I. Bezzerides
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 6, 2006
Warner Bros.


Robert Mitchum
as Curt Bridges
Teresa Wright
as Grace Bridges
Tab Hunter
as Harold Bridges
Diana Lynn
as Gwen Williams
Beulah Bondi
as Ma Bridges
Philip Tonge
as Pa Bridges
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Track of the Cat

Critic Reviews for Track of the Cat

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (4)

It has no psychological pattern, no dramatic point. There's a lot of pretty snow scenery in it and a lot of talk about deep emotional things. But it gets lost in following some sort of pretense.

Full Review… | September 30, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 30, 2006
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 30, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's one of those overlooked great films that somehow slips under the radar, in this case probably because it's unique as a Western.

Full Review… | December 23, 2005
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Mitchum hunts a cougar... and that's about it.

Full Review… | February 12, 2005

Audience Reviews for Track of the Cat

At first, Joe Sam(Carl Switzwer), an elderly Indian, is the only one to hear it. After he wakes up the Bridges brothers, Curt(Robwert Mitchum), Harold(Tab Hunter) and Arthur(William Hopper), they also hear what might be a big cat threatening the family's cattle and is maybe even the mythical black panther that Joe Sam has alluded to on occasion over the years. At the very least, Curt and Arthur go out into the snow to see what they can find which gives their mother(Beulah Bondi) plenty of time to harangue Harold on his upcoming engagement to Gwen(Diana Lynn), the paid companion to Grace(Teresa Wright), who like her brothers is also unmarried.

First, "Track of the Cat" is something of an odd duck in trying to turn its typical western premise of man versus nature on its head. And I would agree with anybody who says that this movie is meant mostly to be allegorical about the closing of the frontier in favor of settling down into a life of domesticity. But ignoring the hunt in favor of the household squabbles is a mistake, as anything Robert Mitchum does in general, much less in the stark white landscape, is much more interesting than anything going on inside the house where the primary lesson is to always find plenty of places to hide your booze.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

I never thought I'd ever watch a Western adapted from a theater play. I did and I wish I hadn't. This film's really bad. Not only most of the action takes place indoor while the excitement (the hut for the cat) is outside. The whole film is shoot in studio and that's really a pity since it is certainly the worse set design I've ever seen.
Besides, since when have wimps become so attractive? We want a real hero, not this child as a good character. Really, this film's bad in a whole new way to me.

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