RKO Radio Pictures
Starring: O.P. Heggie, Helen Westley, John Qualen
Also Starring: Whitey
Directed by: George Nichols Jr.
Cat Out of the Bag Alert! This review contains some spoilers for this film!
Synopsis: Archeology Professor Sylvestre Bonnard (O.P. Heggie) yearns for a lost love while befriending the woman’s daughter Jeanne (Anne Shirley).
Featured Feline: In the opening scene, the Professor’s housekeeper, Therese (Helen Westley) tries to scare away a meek but persistent bookseller named Coccoz (John Qualen). Returning to her kitchen, Therese hears a meowing coming from outside. She opens the back door and calls out, “Hannibal! Don’t you know it’s raining?” Coccoz appears, holding the white cat and says, “Yes, it’s raining cats and dogs!”
Therese takes Hannibal from Coccoz and carries the cat across the room to dry him with a towel.
Coccoz asks again to see the master of the house but Therese is firm, ordering him to leave.
Pointing out that it is still raining, Therese says Coccoz can dry himself at the fire.
Therese carries Hannibal into the library where the Professor is reading. They discuss the book he is reading and the Professor reaches up and gives Hannibal’s paw a friendly tug. Therese then sets Hannibal down on a chair as they continue their playful arguing.
Coccoz finally makes his way into the library and befriends the Professor. When it is discovered that Coccoz is expecting a child but has sold no books and has no money, the Professor agrees to buy what he has. As they drink to the baby’s future Hannibal can be seen sitting on the chair behind them.
Therese enters and crosses to the chair, saying, “Come, Hannibal. Dinner’s ready.” She picks up the cat and then scoffs to the Professor, “Some people eat their meals on time.”
When the Professor asks Therese to show Coccoz where to put the books he’s bought, Therese insists she has resigned and leaves. Hannibal is not seen again, although he is referred to later in the film.
This is yet another star turn by cat actor Whitey. Whitey was bought for 25 cents at a Hollywood pet shop by Henry East and by 1935 was earning 125 dollars a week and enjoyed steady employment under contract with RKO Pictures.
Final Mewsings: Cats often go hand in hand with booksellers.
To discuss this film and other cats in movies and on television, join us on
Facebook and Twitter.