THE CATAMOUNT KILLING (1974) Bizarre West German heist movie that was filmed in America.

catamountkilling_betaboxTheme Song: “Think About Him” by Chip Taylor, although I didn’t spot it during the movie at all.

Interesting Dated References: Small town living, movies with no product placement.

Best Line: Yelled to a police officer — “Please kill me, please! Please! Please kill me, kill me, please kill me!”

Social Context: A standard robbery/heist film where everyone and everything collapses around the main character’s initial quest for riches. As we all know, crime does not pay and makes you yell at women really intensely and scream nonstop.

Summary: I was really worried this was some shitty Spanish or Polish crime movie from all the foreign names on the box. Luckily, it takes place in America, cast with mostly American actors. It just happens to have a vested interest in a West German crew and director. Which is fine, I just really didn’t feel like watching some crime movie that took place on foreign soil. I don’t know why I’m talking about it, though, since that isn’t really your problem.

The Catamount Killing is based upon a novel called I’d Rather Stay Poor, written by James Hadley Chase. I don’t expect that name to ring a bell since it seems Mr. Chase has made a career of writing mediocre crime novels, which are then adapted into mediocre films shot in places like Poland and Russia. Sometimes these movies are released on video in America, which is why I’m here typing.

The Catamount Killing starts rather nicely with the opening credits rolling as a guy just sits in his car while a train goes by. Excellent start. Seriously, it’s a lovely shot. This man is veteran actor Horst Buchholz, who was relatively well known in Germany, but never really broke out in America because we had a similar-looking Robert Blake, the most awesome person ever. In this film, Horst plays Mark Kalvin, a banker who decides to pull off some type of heist. My detective skills and the name of the movie seem to indicate someone might get killed later on, though, and it may involve a cougar.

So Horst arrives in a small town to manage a bank. The female employee of the bank tells him all the little secrets immediately, and Horst settles in at his bed and breakfast staying quarters. Soon enough, he’s romancing the older broad who heads the place and talking to her about “getting money.” Before you know it, they’ve plotted the whole thing out and swing into action. It seems like dude’s only been there a day because of the editing, but we’re supposed to assume time has passed. So, Horst yells at his younger female coworker a lot, then kills her, then he has his older lady lover pose as her so the lazy sheriff can see them both walk out of the bank. Nice security system. They actually bill it as that. “Oh the sheriff keeps an eye on the bank from his window.” How pleasant.

Horst is able to pin the robbery on the girl he killed and make it seem like her crazy non-existent boyfriend killed her and split. Lots of bad acting ensues, in which the townspeople gossip about what happened. Horst actually gets really fucking intense and insane as he slaps women around and is super aggressive. Seriously he gives like several really long monologues where he’s just yelling at women for like 2 minutes straight.

During the closing series of events, the old maid kills herself and the sheriff chases Horst down the street. Horst continually turns and shoots at him, yet the cop never fires back. Then, instead of shooting himself, Horst throws his gun at the sheriff and then just begs him to shoot him for like 2 minutes. Then the movie ends. Horst Bucholz is no hack. He was really insane in this movie, despite a weak and choppy plot. Let’s not forget the title makes no sense as relates to the movie. There is nothing catamount or nothing involving catamount. There is however a few killings, so in that respect the title is accurate.

Poster and Box Art: I cannot find a theatrical poster, American or foreign, for this movie. That being said, it’s pretty pointless to even bother critiquing the box art. No one even reads this shit anyways.

Availability: Used VHS on eBay, as always. Ha, $39.95! People are such assholes!

One comment

  • “shitty Spanish or Polish crime movie from all the foreign names on the box”?

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