2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Less Talk, More Action Please.,
This review is from: Track Of The Cat [DVD] (DVD)
The novel written by Walter Van Tilburg Clark, upon which this film is based is a pretty good one. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, the film adaption falls short. The western genre is not, with a few exceptions like "Invitation to a Gunfighter", the right arena for a more theatrically grounded film. Most of the scenes take place on the Bridges ranch, amongst lots of surreal fake snow. At the ranch there is a lot of speechifying from the disfunctional and fractured Bridges family, whilst Robert Mitchum plods around the snowy wastes in what looks to be a furry Fresian cow coat. Pa Bridges is played by Philip Tonge as a sort of annoying sozzled thespian. Beulah Bondi plays the sour faced, think bulldog chewing a wasp, bible thumping matriarch. Mitchum plays the sharp tongued middle brother, whilst Tab Hunter plays the dominated younger brother. Unfortunately the talky hot air scuppers any chance of a good action movie. After a while you don't really care what happens to any of the characters. By the end I was rather hoping that the "Painter" (cougar) would eat them all, and put us out of our misery.
I think there was meant to be some sort of allegory going on here between the black painter and the unhappy family. When the painter kills cattle on the ranch Mitchum and his brother set out after the beast across the snowy landscape, which provides the only real highlight in an otherwise very dull film. Mitchum then has a very odd experience at the end of the film which comes out of the blue. All a bit strange, but you will have to watch it to see what I mean! The film, which was unsurprisingly not a success, was produced by John Wayne and Robert Fellows for the big mans own Batjac production company. The film was long withheld by Wayne's eldest son Michael who inherited the company, but when he died his widow negotiated a deal. It has been given the full treatment, which many more deserving vehicles have never had. There are informative documentaries about the author Walter Van Tilburg Clark and director William "Wild Bill" Wellman, that contain contributions from Mitchum and Hunter. Sadly the film itself is a very dull and pedestrian affair. Still at least it is an improvement on the last western I watched!
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Initial post: 26 Dec 2013 12:39:38 GMT
Shane Hyde says:
It was a Panther, not a painter, it's the regional American pronounciation.
In reply to an earlier post on 14 Mar 2014 22:24:11 GMT
Bob Salter says:
It is also called a puma and a mountain lion, as well as a cougar which I already referred to in my review. I used 'painter' as this is what they seemed to refer to them as in westerns. It took me a long time to find out they were one and the same thing. They seem to have quite a range. I watched the BBC wildlife series "Flight of the Condor" a few years ago and they are found near the very southern tip of South America. One was even recently photographed by the Hollywood sign in LA. Now that is one adaptable big cat. Gives hope for the future of this wonderful animal! Thanks for bringing up an interesting subject.
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