HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Relic
Nobody
Now, At Last!
Tales from the Hood
Radio Parade of 1935
Dead
Death at Broadcasting House
Huracan
Ghost Strata
Call to Spy, A
Tailgate
Other Lamb, The
Every Time I Die
Lynn + Lucy
Topsy-Turvy
Honest Thief
Blood and Money
Rose: A Love Story
Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made
Om Dar-B-Dar
Silencing, The
J.R. 'Bob' Dobbs and the Church of SubGenius
Dick Johnson is Dead
Two/One
Cognition
Legacy of Lies
I Am Woman
Alien Addiction
Dare, The
South Terminal
Little Monsters
Yield to the Night
My Zoe
Young Playthings
End of Summer
Times of Harvey Milk, The
Buddies
Threshold
Perfectly Normal Family, A
Ravage
   
 
Newest Articles
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
   
 
  Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, The Damnedest woman he ever knew
Year: 1973
Director: Richard C. Sarafian
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Sarah Miles, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Warden, George Hamilton, Bo Hopkins, Robert Donner, Sandy McPeak, Larry Littlebird, Nancy Malone, Jay Silverheels, Jay Varela, Owen Bush, Larry Finley, Suerto Garcia Jr.
Genre: Western, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Well-spoken English beauty Catherine (Sarah Miles) stumbles into the middle of a wild west train robbery led by rugged outlaw Jay Grobart (Burt Reynolds). Saddled against his will with the captive woman, Jay has his hands full keeping Catherine safe from his lecherous partners Dawes (Jack Warden) and Billy (Bo Hopkins) as they make their escape along with Indian sidekick Charlie (Jay Varela). Hot on their trail are Crocker (George Hamilton), the wealthy and arrogant husband from whom Catherine was actually trying to escape, and local lawman Lapchance (Lee J. Cobb). The latter ponders why a hitherto upstanding, decorated cavalry officer like Jay Grobart would rob the Great Western Mining Company. As Catherine discovers, Jay needs the money to buy back the children sired with his late Indian wife, Cat Dancing.

Adapted from a novel by Marilyn Durham, The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing remains a film more notorious for shenanigans behind the scenes than its merits on-screen. Which is a shame given this was one of the last films penned by author and screenwriter Eleanor Perry who had come off a run of acclaimed, offbeat, sensitive dramas - e.g. David and Lisa (1962), The Swimmer (1968), Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970) - in collaboration with her then-husband Frank Perry. Paired with the always-beguiling Sarah Miles and fresh off a career triumph with Deliverance (1972), Burt Reynolds delivers a brooding yet impressively sensitive performance light years away from his roguish antics in later star vehicles like Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and The Cannonball Run (1980). Speaking of which the director of those films, seasoned stuntman and Burt buddy Hal Needham handles the action choreography here including an especially grueling fight sequence between Jay and Dawes.

The film fits into an early Seventies vogue for grungy, relationship-driven revisionist westerns that aimed to address the racism, misogyny and supposed inauthenticity latent in old school Hollywood horse operas. Interestingly many of these have dated far poorer than the classics of the Forties and Fifties. Perry evidently intended to foreground the plight of an intelligent, independent-minded, educated, 'civilized' woman thrust into the savagery of the western milieu. Indeed it becomes deeply uncomfortable to watch as Catherine is bound, abused and fears the near-constant threat of rape. Even Jay's ostensibly kinder and gentler treatment of the heroine leaves one uneasy as he smacks her rump while schooling her on survival out west. In scenes where one dying character presumptuously bequeaths his 'share' of Catherine to Jay or when Crocker laments the high cost of maintaining both a prized thoroughbred and his wife, Perry draws pointed parallels between women and horses. Both perceived by frontiersmen as property to be tamed, trained or dispensed with if 'despoiled.' It becomes increasingly apparent that Crocker is more concerned with killing those men he presumes have already taken advantage of his wife than saving her.

Typical of its era the formless plot rambles from one random incident to another in attempt at realism that often comes across as plain sloppy storytelling. Even so the tedium of long rides through arid desert punctuated with violence and sudden death is an honest reflection of the dangerous west. Perry later claimed her script was substantially rewritten. Which makes sense given it is hard to understand how an avowed feminist could concoct Catherine's curious arc. She starts out a spirited, outspoken woman then over the course of her adventure transforms physically and (it is implied) spiritually into the mirror image of Jay's Indian wife: a meek, docile squaw. Constrained to domesticity Catherine cleans house, cooks dinner and dotes on Jay in dewey-eyed desperation for his approval. Can anyone honestly say this is a more progressive arc for a western heroine than say Grace Kelly in High Noon (1952) or Joanne Dru in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)?

On the plus side the cinematography by western veteran Harry Stradling Jr. is frequently breathtaking with some stunning scenery and John Williams supplies a wonderfully mellow score. Jay Silverheels, formerly Tonto on television with The Lone Ranger, plays a wise old Indian chief in a particularly moving scene where Reynolds tries to reconnect with his children and the neat twist wherein history repeats itself proves quietly devastating.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1493 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Richard C. Sarafian  (1925 - 2013)

American director and actor who worked as a TV director until the late 60s, when he turned his hand to atmospheric films like the haunting British drama Run Wild, Run Free, the existential road movie Vanishing Point and the Burt Reynolds western The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing. Less successful were the Sean Connery vehicle The Next Man and Sunburn, with Farrah Fawcett. As an actor can be spotted more recently in films like Bulworth, Blue Streak and The Crossing Guard.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: