Top positive review
Difficult to Rate
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 31, 2023
This is a movie difficult to rate because there is almost as much to dislike about it as there is to like about it. The camerawork and settings are outstanding, with the possible exception of the homesite, which looks stage-set to me. Also, the basic idea behind the script—what happens when a dysfunctional family living isolated in the mountains is threatened by a panther in the wild—is pretty interesting; however the family situation, wherein a haggard old mother wants to keep her sons from women and to herself, is rather like a cross between Tennessee Williams goes West and Eugene O'Neill tackles The Hairy Cat—it is melodrama ever tinged with symbolism, harking back to the ancient Aegean. It is also rather taxing after a while.
Further, some actors are terrific—oddly enough, Tab Hunter is one of them. And some are mystifyingly awful—for instance, William Hopper (who played Paul Drake in PERRY MASON) could not be more wooden or look more ridiculous sporting a stylish blond doo and wearing black-and-white cow fur. To make things worse, there is a creepy-looking tracker who is supposed to be an "Indian" (in the film's parlance) but looks like he stepped out of a horror-movie spoof. It's so plain wrong on so many levels, not to mention insulting to Native Americans. In more oddness, that character ends up contributing greatly to the movie at the end. I won't give anything away, but that ending and its lead-in are together the very best thing in the entire film, and memorable.
I would give TRACK OF THE CAT 3.5 stars if half stars were possible. I'll be kind and raise it to 4, only because this was an experimental sort of film, and although unsuccessful (to me), it's still worth the trying and the viewing. Plus it's a movie whose ending I'll probably never forget, and somehow I'm coming away from it still loving Robert Mitchum.