Columbia Pictures Corporation
Starring: Burt Reynolds, Dyan Cannon
Directed by: Buzz Kulik
Cat Out of the Bag Alert! This review contains some spoilers for this film!
Synopsis: Private detective McCoy (Burt Reynolds) tries to solve the mystery behind the brutal murder of a diamond thief.
Featutred Feline: Morris the Cat hits the big screen in this film playing a tom cat named Cat who is a feral companion to McCoy. In an early scene, McCoy tells his latest love conquest that if a cat shows up to feed him. “I hate cats!” she says, then asks, “Well, how could you stand them?” “He just stands me,” McCoy explains. We don’t actually see Cat until well in the film when he is sitting on the edge of the bathtub in which McCoy is lying after being beaten up the night before.
McCoy’s friend Springy (Larry Block) helps McCoy get dressed as Cat continues to sit on the bathtub.
In a later scene, McCoy sneaks into his apartment via the back way. He meets Cat sitting on the wall outside and stops to share a head butt with him.
McCoy then picks up Cat and carries him up the fire escape to his apartment where he gets him something to eat.
A woman named Alexis (Dyan Cannon) shows up at the apartment and comments on what a pretty cat Cat is.
Sure enough, McCoy and Alexis start to kiss with Cat in between them. One of the many scenes of cats caught between kisses on film!
Cat is then seen under the pool table / bed as the couple lie on top together after what was presumably some love making.
Cat is only seen again at the end of the film when McCoy comes home to find Alexis. Alexis has fed Cat, who is eating on the counter.
Previously Morris the Cat made a name for himself as a commercial spokescat for Nine Lives cat food, winning a PATSY award for his commercial work (the award was accepted by Morris’ trainer Robert Martwick.) This was Morris’ big screen debut, as explained in his official biography by Mary Daniels in 1974.
According to the bio, the film was shot in Brooklyn and Morris was brought on location for his role. Interestingly enough, it says his first scene entailed Morris approaching Reynolds after McCoy is beat up and licking the man’s face. Reynolds was then to move to the bathtub where he is found the next day. The memorable scene with Morris sitting beside Burt in the tub and being found there by Springy was not planned, but Morris performed so well the director went with it. The part leading up to this iconic scene appears to have been left on the cutting room floor.
Reynolds was quoted as saying, “I found Morris to be the most unselfish actor I’ve ever worked with in terms of the camera, but when it came to love scenes he was awfully selfish, I felt, and concentrated on his own gratification. However, that alone would probably make him a star.”
Morris is often erroneously credited as having also appeared in The Long Goodbye, but the biography states that Morris turned the role down because he was worried about being typecast. We suspect cat actor Orangey appeared in the other film opposite Elliott Gould.
Final Mewsings: Real men give cats head butts.