Category Archives: Family

My Friend Flicka (1943)

My Friend Flicka poster

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring:
 Roddy McDowell, Patti Hale, Preston Foster
Directed by: Harold Schuster

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

Synopsis: A boy named Ken (Roddy McDowell) longs for a colt of his own, but his horse rancher father (Preston Foster) isn’t sure the boy is up to the task.

Cat Burglar (Scene Stealer): There is a cat which is seen living in and around the house on the horse ranch. The gray and white tuxedo cat first appears on a windowsill behind the father during a breakfast scene.

My Friend Flicka - gray and white tuxedo cat on windowsill behind father Preston Foster

My Friend Flicka - gray and white tuxedo cat on windowsill behind father Preston Foster

My Friend Flicka - gray and white tuxedo cat on windowsill behind father Preston Foster

The cat remains until the father leaves and Ken and his mother start to talk. Then the cat jumps down from the window.

My Friend Flicka - gray and white tuxedo cat on windowsill behind Ken Roddy McDowell and his mom Rita Johnson

The cat is next spotted preening in Ken’s parent’s room as they talk.

My Friend Flicka - gray and white tuxedo cat on floor between Preston Foster and Rita Johnson

My Friend Flicka - gray and white tuxedo cat preening on floor between Preston Foster and Rita Johnson

The most notable appearance by the cat is when a little girl named Hildy (Diana Hale) is left behind because, as Ken explains, she is a girl. She climbs onto a fence and the cat approaches her as she complains, “I don’t see why I can’t be a boy!”

My Friend Flicka - gray and white tuxedo cat approaching Hildy Diana Hale on fence

My Friend Flicka - gray and white tuxedo cat being held by Hildy Diana Hale on fence

As she picks up the cat she comments, “Even you’re a boy … I guess!”

My Friend Flicka - gray and white tuxedo cat being held by Hildy Diana Hale on fence

My Friend Flicka - gray and white tuxedo cat being picked up and held by Hildy Diana Hale on fence animated gif

The next time the cat is seen he is sleeping in a chair when Ken’s father comes along and dumps him out! That’s bad enough, but the man then shoves the cat aside with his leg!

My Friend Flicka - gray and white tuxedo cat sleeping in chair in front of father Preston Foster

The cat is only visible in a couple of Purr Blur moments for the rest of the film.

My Friend Flicka - gray and white tuxedo cat on bench near Preston Foster and Rita Johnson

My Friend Flicka - gray and white tuxedo cat on chair behind Rita Johnson and Roddy McDowell

Final Mewsings: Why would a boy with a cat want a horse?

Many thanks to Nick Wale for letting us know about the cats in this film!


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Beethoven’s Big Break (2008)

Beethoven's Big Break poster

Universal Pictures
Starring:
 Jonathan Silverman, Stephen Tobolowsky
Directed by: Mike Elliott

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

Synopsis: Eddie (Jonathan Silverman) is a single father who has his hands full when he finds himself with a giant St. Bernard who seems destined to become a star.

Kitty Cameos: As an animal trainer, Eddie owns several different animals which are kept in cages, including a cat that is seen several times.

Beethoven's Big Break - multi-colored long-haired cat in cage

Beethoven's Big Break - multi-colored long-haired cat in cage

Beethoven's Big Break - multi-colored long-haired cat in cage

During a movie audition, a rival animal wrangler named Sal (Stephen Tobolowsky) is trying to talk the director into using a cat instead of a dog as the lead. He holds a very large tabby cat, the size of which is commented upon by Patricia (Rhea Perlman)

Beethoven's Big Break - heavy set tabby cat in man's arms

Beethoven's Big Break - Sal Stephen Tobolowsky holding heavy set tabby cat in arms

Beethoven's Big Break - heavy set tabby cat in man's arms

Suddenly Beethoven disrupts the audition when he chases an iguana through a backdrop. Sal is startled and falls over, throwing the cat to one side.

Beethoven's Big Break - heavy set tabby cat flying from Sal's arms

The cat is shown landing on its feet some distance away. According to the American Humane Association, the cat was tossed gently onto stunt pads for the flying segment, but still seems to land rather hard on a wood floor in the last shot.

Beethoven's Big Break - heavy set tabby cat landing on hardwood floor

Final Mewsings: Cats don’t like to audition.


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Beethoven (1992)

Beethoven poster

Universal Pictures
Starring:
 Charles Grodin, Dean Jones
Directed by: Brian Levant

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

Synopsis: A large St. Bernard named Beethoven adopts the Newton family but also catches the attention of an unscrupulous veterinarian.

Kitty Cameo: As a puppy, Beethoven escapes from some dognappers who work for the evil vet and finds himself wandering the streets. As he passes a picket fence a white cat is sitting out of view.

Beethoven - white cat sitting by fence as St. Bernard puppy Beethoven approaches

Beethoven - white cat sitting by fence as St. Bernard puppy Beethoven approaches

As the puppy rounds the corner the white cat hisses and then swipes at the puppy, causing him to scurry away.

Beethoven - white cat sitting on front walk of house

Beethoven - white cat hissing on front walk of house

This action was achieved by the dog actor being led toward the cat actor, who was held in place by a tie down, causing the cat to react and hiss.

Beethoven - white cat sitting on front walk of house closer

Beethoven - white cat hissing on front walk of house

Beethoven - white cat hissing on front walk of house at St. Bernard puppy Beethoven animated gif

Purr Blur:  Later in the film a woman is sitting with a Siamese cat in a carrier in the evil veterinarian’s office.

Beethoven - woman sitting in waiting room with Siamese cat in carrier

Final Mewsings: Cats aren’t fans of movies starring dogs.


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The Cat From Outer Space (1978)

The Cat From Outer Space DVD

Walt Disney Productions
Starring:
 Ken Berry, Sandy Duncan, Harry Morgan, McLean Stevenson, Roddy McDowell, Ronnie Schell
Directed by: Norman Tokar

Synopsis: A space ship makes an emergency landing on Earth.  The occupant, a cat from another planet, has only a short amount of time to make repairs and rendezvous with the mother ship, but his craft is taken by the military, under the orders of General Stilton (Harry Morgan) to a Army scientific research compound. The cat, named Jake (voiced by Ronnie Schell), decides to trust a scientist named Frank (Ken Berry) who comes the closest to understanding the truth behind the ship’s propulsion engine. Along the way they also need to trust fellow scientists Link (McLean Stevenson) and Liz (Sandy Duncan) who help them overcome some daunting obstacles. And just to make matters even worse, a spy named Mr. Stallwood is spying on them and reports back to his boss, Mr. Olympus (William Prince) who wants Jake’s collar, the source of his powers.

Cinema Cats: Zunar-J-5/9 Doric-4-7 (aka Jake) was reportedly played by two Abyssinian cats, a male and a female. There is also a white Persian cat which played the part of Lucybelle, Liz’s cat and Jake’s love interest. This film was undoubtedly an attempt to cash in on the space themed megahits of the time (i.e. Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.) While Jake is a pleasure to watch, the special effects leave a lot to be desired (with the wires showing clearly both on Jake’s collar when it glows and on the actors when they are “levitating”, not to mention the obviously stuffed cats used in parts of the plane sequence.) There is also a scene where Jake is accidentally sedated and one questions whether or not this was done to the actual cat actor for the subsequent scenes in which he remains asleep even when carried around. Sadly the overall film falls far short of the usual classic Disney standards (particularly with the lack of any notable musical score.)

The Cat From Outer Space

Final Mewsings: There is intelligent life in space … and on Earth. And it’s not humans.


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