Track Of The Cat

track-of-the-catDuke’s company Batjac produced Track of the Cat (1954), which has been unavailable as a DVD until now. Like The High and the Mighty (1954), which was a big success for Wayne, the picture was directed by William Wellman, who had adapted Walter Van Tilburg Clark’s The Ox-Bow Incident 10 years earlier. Robert Mitchum stars as an acerbic rancher on the trail of a murderous “black painter,” while his snowbound family plays out their turgid drama like disenfranchised characters from a scuttled Eugene O’Neill play. In spite of its reputation and its renowned cinematography, the film is mostly metaphor and very little meat. There are some nice extras on the DVD, most notably the story of Mitchum’s horse, Black Diamond, by his daughter Trina, who published a book, Hollywood Hoofbeats, in 2005.

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