Seaside Woman (1980)

Music Artist: Linda McCartney and Wings (aka Suzy and the Red Stripes)

Directed by:  Oscar Grillo

Synopsis: A loving depiction of a Jamaican family; the fisherman father, working mother and their little girl.  Won the Short Film Palme d’Or at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.

Cartoon Cat: This delightful film really brings Linda McCartney’s song to life.  The little girl occupies herself along the seashore as her Mama works fixing the nets for her father.  Near the middle of the short the girl is looking at a couple of fish in a bowl.  A black cat pops up and licks its lips.

Seaside Woman - black cat pops up to look at girl with fish

Seaside Woman - black cat licking lips

The cat (with a bandage on its tail) chases the girl to the pier and runs out after her.

Seaside Woman - black cat running on pier animated gif

Much to the cat’s surprise, the girl dumps the fish into the ocean, giving them their freedom.

Seaside Woman - black cat on pier looking up at girl with fish

The cat then chases the girl through the trees to her home in a neat piece of stylistic black and white animation.

Seaside Woman - black cat running through trees animated gif

The girl hides from the cat, who looks around in confusion.

Seaside Woman - black cat looking confused

She then reveals herself and they are joyfully reunited.

Seaside Woman - black cat and girl reunited

Final Mewsings: Seaside cats are adventurous and loving.


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Pussy’s Glasses (1930)

British Pathé

Synopsis: A silent newsreel clip supposedly showing near-sighted cats being fitted with glasses.

Reality Cats: It’s amazing to think that in the 1930’s someone was actually concerned with the problem of near-sighted cats.  But at least one optician was purportedly devoting himself to the cause.  He first examines the tabby cat’s eyes.

Pussy's Glasses - optician examines cat's eyes

Then he fits the tabby with a pair of tiny spectacles, making the cat look like a feline version of John Lennon.  Of course these look more like sunglasses so it’s unclear if the lenses have any prescription to them.

Pussy's Glasses - tabby cat wearing round sunglasses

Another unfortunate tabby is fitted with goggles, turning him into steampunk cat!

Pussy's Glasses - tabby cats wearing round sunglasses and goggles

Final Mewsings: Maybe Cassandra Cat started this way!


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When a Man Loves (1927)

When a Man Loves poster

Warner Bros.
Starring:
 John Barrymore, Dolores Costello, Warner Oland
Directed by: Alan Crosland

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains some spoilers for this film!

Synopsis: Chevalier Fabien des Grieux (John Barrymore) has foregone his title to study to be a priest but his plans change when he sets eyes on the beautiful Manon Lescaut (Dolores Costello).

Cat Burglar (Scene Stealer): This silent film features an adorable long-haired tabby kitten named Fifi who is present throughout most of the first two thirds of the film.

When a Man Loves - tabby kitten Fifi held by Manon Dolores Costello

Fifi is first seen in the lap of the lovely Manon as she rides in a carriage with her brother (Warner Oland) and Comte Guillot de Morfontaine (Sam De Grasse).

When a Man Loves - tabby kitten Fifi on Manon Dolores Costello lap

As the scene progresses, Manon reaches over to get a basket and the kitten jumps to the floor.  Manon can’t find the kitten and de Morfontaine takes advantage of the opportunity to lift her skirt with his cane, revealing Fifi.

When a Man Loves - Manon's skirt lifted by cane to reveal tabby kitten Fifi

When the carriage arrives at the inn, Manon has again lost the kitten but sees her on top of the carriage.  There is a gasp-worthy moment as Fifi tumbles from the top of the carriage and is about to fall but catches herself.  One of the men present lifts the kitten down and hands her to Manon.

When a Man Loves - tabby kitten Fifi tumbles from top of carriage

As Manon walks into the inn with Fifi in a basket she exchanges a love-at-first-sight glance with Fabien.  She then looks a little apprehensive.

When a Man Loves - tabby kitten Fifi in Manon Dolores Costello basket

Manon’s brother accepts money from Morfontaine for his sister, much to her dismay, but Fabien offers his services.  It is clear they already have feelings for each other and Fabien goes to kiss her hand but kisses Fifi instead.

When a Man Loves - Fabien John Barrymore kisses tabby kitten Fifi's head with Manon Dolores Costello

Fabien and Manon run to Paris where they end up staying in a low-class boarding house.  Fifi lies in bed with Manon as she sleeps fitfully during the storm.

When a Man Loves - tabby kitten Fifi on bed with Manon Dolores Costello

Fifi takes another notable tumble as she is playing on a table in the background when Fabien’s friend Jean Tiberge (Holmes Herbert) comes looking for him.

When a Man Loves - tabby kitten Fifi almost falls off table

Fifi then sneaks into Manon’s case as her brother is packing it.  He has tricked her into leaving Fabien.

When a Man Loves - tabby kitten Fifi climbs into suitcase as Warner Oland packs it

Manon leaves Fifi with instructions that Fabien should take care of her until she can return.  Manon thinks she is only going to be away for a few days.

When a Man Loves - tabby kitten Fifi with Manon Dolores Costello

Fabien is crushed, thinking Manon has left him for a rich man.  He wanders the streets of Paris looking for her, carrying Fifi, where he is ruthlessly ridiculed.  Even Fifi seems depressed in these scenes, no longer playful.

When a Man Loves - tabby kitten Fifi with Fabien John Barrymore

Entering a tavern, Fabien tries to shield Fifi from a man’s second-hand smoke.

When a Man Loves - Fabien John Barrymore shields tabby kitten Fifi's face from smoke

Fabien is even thoughtful enough to order some milk for Fifi when he wants nothing for himself.

When a Man Loves - tabby kitten Fifi drinking milk with Fabien John Barrymore

Fifi does not appear again until a year later when Fabien and Manon have reunited.  Manon even mentions that Fifi must be a beautiful adult cat by then.  She is only seen in one scene in bed with the couple, and that part of the film appears to have been damaged.  Fortunately stills exist of the scene.  But Fifi does not seem as important as before, with Fabien even bringing Manon a monkey instead.

When a Man Loves - tabby kitten Fifi with Fabien John Barrymore and Manon Dolores Costello in bed

Final Mewsings: A cat needs just as much love when they grow up.


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The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004)

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement poster

Walt Disney Pictures
Starring:
 Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews
Directed by: Garry Marshall

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains some spoilers for this film!

Synopsis: Princess Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) returns to Genovia before her 21st birthday when she is due to take over for Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews) only to find out she must marry before being allowed to wear the crown.

Cinema Cat: Mia’s tuxedo cat Fat Louie returns for this film, flying back to Genovia with Mia on the private plane which mimics the last scene of the preceding film.

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement - tuxedo cat Fat Louie on cushion in plane

Fat Louie’s role this time has no direct impact on the story itself but we are treated to some nice shots of him as he runs into the castle upon arrival, discovers his castle shaped cat tree and dines on ice cream.

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement - tuxedo cat Fat Louie running into castle

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement - tuxedo cat Fat Louie sitting on castle cat tree

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement - tuxedo cat Fat Louie eating ice cream

One particularly cute moment is when Fat Louie accidentally presses the remote control that opens some drawers in Mia’s impressive walk-in closet.  He opens and closes the doors several times, reacting with surprise.

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement - tuxedo cat Fat Louie opening drawers animated gif

Fat Louie shares the screen with Queen Clarisse’s poodle named Maurice.  Maurice chases Fat Louie around the castle but it would seem to be just harmless fun.  The two characters are never seen actually fighting.

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement - tuxedo cat Fat Louie chased by poodle Maurice animated gif

In the end they all live happily ever after, including Fat Louie and Maurice.  The cat actors playing Fat Louie this time were named Zorro and Othello.  Also cat actor Baxter played Fat Louie in the scenes where he is being chased by Maurice, played by dog actor Gatsby.  The two were reportedly good friends and considered the chasing as a game.

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement - tuxedo cat Fat Louie on cushion close

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement - tuxedo cat Fat Louie on cushion

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement - tuxedo cat Fat Louie and poodle Maurice wearing tiaras

Final Mewsings: Cats can be diplomatic, too.


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