The Catamount Killing (1974)

catamount killing 2

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: They’re wracked with guilt.

Mark (Horst Buchholz) is a recent divorcee who has moved to a small town and gotten a job as the new bank manager. The bank is small and not adequately guarded giving him the idea to pull off a robbery as an inside job. He seduces the emotionally fragile Kit (Ann Wedgeworth) into helping him with his plan. Initially things go smoothly, but then they begin feeling guilty over what they’ve done especially since the robbery involved the death of someone else. Then Kit’s daughter Iris (Louise Caire Clark) becomes suspicious that her mother might’ve been involved, which causes the couple to unravel in dramatic fashion.

I hate to use the fact that this is a low budget film as a reason for why it’s poor as not every movie has to have state-of-the-art special effects to be entertaining and good story telling and competent direction are still the foundation of a good movie and that can be accomplished on the most miniscule of budgets. However, this film, which was filmed on location in Bennigton, Vermont, looks cheap and stale. The camera work is unimaginative and it does not take advantage of some of the historical landmarks in the town where it was filmed making the background and setting look blah and uninteresting. Its loud, crashing orchestral music score would be better suited for a Hollywood epic and is pretentious and out-of-place here.

The set-up moves too fast and could’ve been the result of watching the American version, which is 11 minutes shorter than the European one. Either way it’s poorly constructed with the two falling in love and plotting the crime without much background information given about them making it all seem forced and rushed. The robbery itself isn’t unique and when compared to other bank robbery movies this one is weak and forgettable.

Buchholz gives a strong performance, which helps the limp material to some degree. Wedgeworth is outstanding. Somehow her soap opera-styled histrionics and Texas accent is something I’ve always found appealing and makes for a fun performance. This also mark the film debut of Polly Holliday who appears briefly sporting a foreign accent that does not sound too believable.

There are enough twists to keep it plausible and mildly engrossing, but the ending lacks impact and like the rest of the movie falls flat. The plot is based off the novel ‘I’d Rather Stay Poor’ by James Hadley Chase, which I suspect would be a far superior version to this.

catamout killing 1

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: August 11, 1974

Runtime: 1Hour 22Minutes (American Version)

Rated PG

Director: Krzysztof Zanussi

Studio: Starlight

Available: VHS, DVD-R, Amazon Instant Video

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s