Directed by William A. Wellman
Like the pursuit of the mysterious, metaphorical black panther that leads actor Robert Mitchum’s Curt Bridges deeper and deeper into the snow packed Rockies in Track of the Cat, William A. Wellman’s obsession with an aesthetic experiment—shooting a color film with a black-and-white palette—carries the director to the edge of a cinematic abyss. By turns brilliant and confounding, Track of the Cat, with its story of a corrupted ranching family tearing itself apart in wintry isolation, remains a fascinating balancing act between visual minimalism and overwrought melodrama. Mitchum, again, proves the fulcrum for a director’s vision as a fascistic brute who cruelly dominates his family until he’s lead into the hunt for a panther carries him into the wilderness and a confrontation with himself.
Warner Bros. Producer: John Wayne, Robert Fallows. Based on a novel by Walter Van Tilburg. Screenwriter: A.I. Bezzerides. Cinematographer: William H. Clothier. Editor: Fred MacDowell. Cast: Robert Mitchum, Teresa Wright, Diana Lynn, Tab Hunter, Beulah Bondi.
35mm, color, 103 min.