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Track of the Cat

Track of the Cat(1954)

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The film's title card reads: "William A. Wellman's Track of the Cat." Excerpts from the 1817 sonnet, "When I have fears that I May cease to be," by John Keats were featured in the film. According to the Variety review, portions of the film were shot near Mt. Rainier, Washington. An October 1954 Variety news item reported that the Breen Office ordered two love scenes in the film to be deleted, but producer Robert Fellows requested that the MPAA Production Code reviewers reconsider their decision. The outcome has not been determined. As noted in the Los Angeles Examiner review, the film was "a novel combination of black, white and WarnerColor." The film was shot in color, but in both indoor and outdoor scenes, director Wellman worked with shades of black and white, creating a stark, monochromatic look, using color sparingly to convey symbolic significance. Some modern sources state that Warner Bros. wanted Wellman to shoot in color and the director complied while maintaining his preferred black-and-white look. However, in studio production notes, contained in the file on the film in the AMPAS Library, Wellman stated that, "for years" he had wanted to do "black and white in color," adding that the idea occurred to him in a previous film by accident while shooting a color scene of a set dressed for black-and-white.
       The Los Angeles Examiner review of Track of the Cat described the psychologically driven film as "a sort of mood story" and warned viewers that it was "not a routine movie." The New York Times called it "a Western with Greek overtones." Modern sources have called it a "Cold War Western" and "CinemaScope's first genuine weirdie." According to a November 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item, because of the unusual technical handling and theme of the story, Warner Bros. considered entering the film in the Venice and Edinburgh film festivals.