This week’s mystery movie was the 1954 Warner Bros. film Track of the Cat, with Robert Mitchum, Teresa Wright, Diana Lynn, Tab Hunter, Beulah Bondi, Philip Tonge, William Hopper and Carl Switzer.
Screenplay by A.I. Bezzerides. From the novel by Walter Van Tilburg Clark.
Music by Roy Webb.
Photography by William A. Clothier.
Production manager Nate H. Edwards. Assistant director Andrew V. McLaglen.
Art direction by Al Ybarra. Edited by Fred MacDowell. Sound by Earl Crain Sr. Script supervisor Sam Freedle.
Orchestrations by Maurice de Packh. Set decoration by Ralph Hurst. Properties by Joseph La Bella. Costumes by Gwen Wakeling. Hairstyles by Margaret Donovan. Makeup by Gordon and George Bau.
In Cinemascope and WarnerColor.
Directed by William A. Wellman.
More information on Track of the Cat is available from the AFI catalog.
Track of the Cat is available on DVD from Critics’ Choice Video.
Someone in the early 1950s must have asked: “What if we took a routine ‘kitchen sink’ drama and transferred it from a New York apartment to a turn of the 20th century kitchen in California?”
The result is Track of the Cat. I had to be especially tricky in posting images because most of the cast is instantly recognizable. So I began with Carl Switzer in heavy makeup as Joe Sam.
I chose it by going through the trades and looking for a film that good reviews.
I’m going to guess that Bosley Crowther gave it a lukewarm review. Will he call it “old hat?” We’ll see!
Yes! It’s Bosley himself (Dec. 2, 1954) and he gave it a lukewarm review:
A passel of bitter, twister people, snowbound on a California ranch and wrangling about whether the youngest son of the family is going to be permitted to marry a deeply resented neighbor girl, is set as the center of interest in William Wellman’s Track of the Cat, a sort of Eugene O’Neill-ized Western drama that came yesterday to the paramount….
…it has no psychological pattern, no dramatic point. There’s a lot of pretty snow scenery in it and a lot of talk about deep emotional things. But it gets lost in following some sort of pretense. The cat goes this way and O’Neill goes that.
For Monday, we have a mystery guest.
Update: This is Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer as Joe Sam.
For Tuesday, we have a mystery guest. He drinks heavily to forget such goings-on.
Update: This is Philip Tonge.
Brain Trust roll call: Jenny M. (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery guest).
For “Hm Wednesday,” we have a mysterious fellow and an intrusive coffeepot. Is this a visual cue for “waking up and smelling the coffee?” And no, I cannot imagine why they photographed the scene this way. But I’m grateful!
Update: This is the unmistakable crewcut of Tab Hunter and the arm of Beulah Bondi.
Brain Trust roll call: Jenny M. (Tuesday’s mystery drunk).
For “Aha Thursday,” we have a mystery fellow.
Update: This is William Hopper – in a beard!
We also have a mystery woman.
Update: This is Teresa Wright with Robert Mitchum in in the background.
Brain Trust roll call: Jenny M. (Wednesday’s mystery guest).
For Friday, we have a mystery woman. She does not approve of such goings-on.
Update: This is Beulah Bondi and Switzer.
We also have this mystery woman.
Update: This is Diana Lynn.
And finally, we have this colorful mystery fellow.
Update: And Robert Mitchum.
Brain Trust roll call: Jenny M. (Thursday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Gary (mystery movie, Wednesday’s mysterious crewcut and Thursday’s mystery woman, plus Friday’s mystery cowboy), Mary Mallory (mystery movie and all mystery guests) and Thom and Megan (mystery movie and all mystery guests).
Noble Johnson. Ghost Breakers?
Excellent guess, but alas…
Switzer in Track of the Cat.
Neville Brand (Al Capone!) does not appear in our mystery film, alas.
It reminds me of Boris Karloff, but it cannot be that easy. 🙂
Two votes for Boris! But alas…
Monday looks like a Maurice Sendak character. A Tuesday guess but: Laurence Harvey in The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm?
Wonderful World of the Brothers Gimm.
Two votes for Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm. Sadly, however…
Total WAG: Harry Carey Jr. on Tuesday?
A good guess, but alas, I’m afraid not
Wednesday is Tab Hunter. His plaid jacket is the clue.
On Monday, I instantly recognized Alfalfa in Track of the Cat I had thought that he would make a great mystery guest. I did’t think that you would use the movie because the rest of the cast is so well known. You proved me wrong.
I have no idea. But I hope you’re going to explain what those white thingamabobs are on the tables in Tuesday’s image and now Thursday’s image.
I’m stunned that thingamabobs showed up in my auto-spell function. Cool!
William Hopper and Teresa Wright.
Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer, Philip Tonge, William Hopper, Tab Hunter and Teresa Wright in TRACK OF THE CAT.
As I suspected that blond crew cut could only belong to Tab Hunter. Add Teresa Wright and we have Track of the Cat. As I recall the film was in color but the sets ad costumes in black and white..with the exception of the red mackinoe worn by Friday’s guest to be Robert Miitchum.
TRAck OF THE CAT. Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer Monday, Phillip Tonge Tuesday, Tab Hunter Wednesday, William “Bill” Hopper and Teresa Wright today.
Robert Mitchum in red today.
Our mystery movie is Track of the Cat, with the unrecognizable Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer on Monday. Tuesday’s guest is Philip Tonge, and Wednesday’s is Tab Hunter.Today’s guests are William Hopper and Teresa Wright, with Robert Mitchum in the background.
Beulah Bondi, Diana Lynn, and good old Robert Mitchum.
Beulah Bondi, Diana Lynn and Robert Mitchum.
Beulah Bondi and Robert Mitchum in “Track of the Cat”
Excuse me if I don”t cite the obvious. Except to congratulate you for a very good and well managed selection this week.
Beulah Bondi! Mitchum! “Track of the Cat”! Took me long enough.
Shorter version: Carl Alfalfa Switzer, Philip Tonge, Tab Hunter, Beulah Bondi, William Hopper, Teresa Wright, Diana Lynn, Robert Mitchum.
Sylvia – Those white things on the table is a cruet set. They were common in household from mid OK19th century into early 20th. You more commonly saw them with clear glass bottles vs these milk glass ones. They had bottles for vinegar, oil, salt or pepper and often a jar for cinnamon or another spice. Often found with a small customizable jar with spoon, frequently used for jam or another condiment. They fit into a raised silver or silver plate round caddy that spun around.
I thought you might give me credit for naming the Mystery Movie director; or did I disguise his name too well?
You slipped it right by me!