Category Archives: Black Cat

The Hand (1981)

The Hand poster

Warner Bros.
Starring:
 Michael Caine, Mara Hobel
Directed by: Oliver Stone

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

Synopsis: Jonathan Lansdale (Michael Caine) is a cartoonist who loses his hand in a freak accident and then thinks he’s losing his mind when his disembodied hand haunts his life.

Kitty Cameo: At the beginning of the film Jonathan is at his country home with his wife Anne (Andrea Marcovicci) and daughter Lizzie (Mara Hobel). He notices Lizzie poking at something with a stick. A black cat is in the background.

The Hand - black cat Amanda in background behind Lizzie Mara Hobel

Lizzie is poking at a lizard’s tail which is moving each time she pushes the stick closer. The black cat is eating the rest of the lizard by a tree.

The Hand - black cat Amanda eating lizard by tree

As they contemplate the wriggling appendage, the black cat suddenly pounces on the tail and devours it, then runs away. Lizzie calls after the cat, “Amanda!”

The Hand - black cat Amanda eating lizard's tail

The Hand - black cat Amanda running away

The Hand - black cat Amanda jumping on lizard's tail and eating it then running away Lizzie Mara Hobel Jonathan Michael Caine animated gif

After the accident, Jonathan is in his studio attempting to draw with his left hand. He hears a noise behind him and looks but nothing is there. Suddenly Amanda leaps out of nowhere onto the drawing board and hisses violently.

The Hand - black cat Amanda hissing

Kitty Carnage Warning!  Amanda then inexplicably turns and dashes through the glass window with a crash.

The Hand - black cat Amanda going through window with Jonathan Michael Caine

The Hand - black cat Amanda going through window with Jonathan Michael Caine animated gif

This scene is repeated later in the film as a memory in black and white. It is never explains exactly what happened to Amanda or if she survived the crash through the window, although in the context of the film her fate could be deduced. But we won’t give spoilers here.

The Hand - black cat Amanda hissing in black and white

In the DVD commentary track, director Oliver Stone explained that the shot of the cat leaping through the window was difficult to achieve using a mechanical spring cat matched to the real cat actor who had to jump on the table and then turn and run in the right direction. “Working with animals and getting the stunt right is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do in the films. So to get a cat to jump in the correct manner and scare somebody is not easy.”

Final Mewsings: Oliver Stone wasn’t content with just one spring-loaded cat!


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Dozhdlivaya istoriya (1988)

English Title: A Rainy Story
Soyuzmultfilm
Directed by:
 Tayana Mititello

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

Synopsis: A beautiful Russian animated short about a baker and her cat and some extraordinary events which take place on a rainy day, all told without words.

Cartoon Cat: The gray, white and black tabby in the short belongs to a woman who owns a bakery in a small town. The cat enjoys the warmth and smells as the woman bakes bread.

A Rainy Story - cartoon gray white and black tabby cat

Eventually the cat gets in the way, accidentally splashing water on the dough, so the woman puts him outside.

A Rainy Story - cartoon gray white and black tabby cat being pulled away from bread

A Rainy Story - cartoon gray white and black tabby cat sitting outside in the rain

The cat tries to catch some fish and falls into the water, coming back to the bakery soaked.

A Rainy Story - cartoon gray white and black tabby cat pawing at water

A Rainy Story - cartoon gray white and black tabby cat dripping wet

The woman towels off the cold and wet cat, feeding him some dough and setting him by the fire to warm. She then leaves on errands.

A Rainy Story - cartoon gray white and black tabby cat being fed dough by woman

A Rainy Story - cartoon gray white and black tabby sleeping

Things take a surreal turn as the dough rises and hence the cat grows to enormous size! He even manages to scare a normal-sized cat.

A Rainy Story - giant cartoon gray white and black tabby cat breaking apart house

A Rainy Story - giant cartoon gray white and black tabby cat scaring black cat

A Rainy Story - giant cartoon gray white and black tabby cat scaring people in bus

Because the cat is so large and causing problems, the townfolk turn him away.

A Rainy Story - giant cartoon gray white and black tabby cat turned away by townspeople

Eventually the cat performs a heroic deed that wins him back into the town’s favor. But words really can’t do justice to this charming tale, one must really watch it for themselves.

A Rainy Story - giant cartoon gray white and black tabby cat blocking water

A Rainy Story - giant cartoon gray white and black tabby cat and woman with food and gifts

A Rainy Story - giant cartoon gray white and black tabby cat with black cat

Final Mewsings: Cats of all sizes deserve love!


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En man som heter Ove (2015)

A Man Called Ove poster

English Title: A Man Called Ove
Nordisk Film
Starring:
 Rolf Lassgårdm, Bahar Pars
Also Starring:  Magic, Orlando
Directed by: Hannes Holm

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

Synopsis: Based on the popular novel by Fredrik Backman. Ove (Rolf Lassgårdm) is a cantankerous older man who has reached the point where life doesn’t seem worth living until the people around him see more in him than he sees in himself.

Featured Feline: Ove lives in a housing development with strict association rules which he enforces, even though he is no longer president. He spends much of his time walking around the grounds, taking justice into his own hands when he sees a violation. As he walks around the complex, a female Ragdoll cat often follows him. He tries to scare the cat away but it does not seem to deter the animal. In the book the cat is referred to as “The Cat Annoyance”.

A Man Called Ove - Ragdoll cat sitting on path

A Man Called Ove - Ragdoll cat sitting in foreground with Ove Rolf Lassgårdm in background

A Man Called Ove - Ove Rolf Lassgårdm trying to scare away Ragdoll cat

While Ove does not like the cat, he still comes to the rescue when a woman with a dog (whom he also despises) is caught throwing stones at the poor thing. Ove chases the woman away. He even comes back outside with some food and looks for the cat but it is gone.

A Man Called Ove - Ragdoll cat crouched next to house

One of Ove’s new neighbors is a pregnant woman named Parvaneh (Bahar Pars) who takes a liking to the man even though he is initially very rude to her and her husband. Parvaneh is with Ove when she finds the cat injured outside his door.

A Man Called Ove - Ragdoll cat being picked up by Parvaneh Bahar Pars with Ove Rolf Lassgårdm

Against Ove’s wishes, she insists they take the cat inside his home and that Ove find something to keep the cat warm. At that point a neighbor named Jimmy (Klas Wiljergârd) comes in and takes his shirt off, warming the cat against his chest. When both Parvaneh and Jimmy say they can’t take the cat because of allergies (Parvaneh’s children and Jimmy remembers he himself is allergic) it is clear the care of the cat will fall to Ove.

A Man Called Ove - Jimmy Klas Wiljergârd holding Ragdoll cat against bare chect with Parvaneh Bahar Pars

A Man Called Ove - Jimmy Klas Wiljergârd holding Ragdoll cat against bare chect with Ove Rolf Lassgårdm

Ove reluctantly takes on the responsibility and over time the cat becomes a constant companion.

A Man Called Ove - Ragdoll cat being held by Ove Rolf Lassgårdm

A Man Called Ove - Ragdoll cat lying on floor and looking up

A Man Called Ove - Ragdoll cat lying on bed

Ove even takes the cat with him to visit his wife’s grave.

A Man Called Ove - Ragdoll cat being held by Ove Rolf Lassgårdm at cemetery

Ove also becomes close to many of the residents of the community, helping them when they need him.

A Man Called Ove - Ragdoll cat being watching Ove work

A Man Called Ove - Ragdoll cat watching Ove Rolf Lassgårdm fix bicycle

He even lets a young man named Mirsad (Poyan Karimi) move in with him when he has nowhere else to go.

A Man Called Ove - Mirsad Poyan Karimi feeding Ragdoll cat

Now others, including the cat, follow Ove on his rounds.

A Man Called Ove - Ragdoll cat being and friends following Ove Rolf Lassgårdm on his rounds

A Man Called Ove - Ragdoll cat being and friends following Ove Rolf Lassgårdm on his rounds

Near the end of the film, Parvaneh and her husband find that Ove has passed in his sleep, the cat lying forlornly on the man’s chest.

A Man Called Ove - Ragdoll cat lying on Ove's Rolf Lassgårdm chest with Parvaneh Bahar Pars

The part of the unnamed cat was played by cats Magic and Orlando who were not trained cat actors. According to online sources, Magic’s specialty was the ability to not be scared away easily, a must for this role opposite the frustrated Ove. Orlando was brought in when the cat character needed to stay in one place for a period of time. The cats were so similar that the wrong one was often taken to the set for the wrong actions! In an interview director Hannes Holm explained how the production company originally did not want to include the cat character in the film but he fought for the inclusion, pointing out all the fans of the book who loved the cat.

A Man Called Ove - Ragdoll cat lying on floor

A Man Called Ove - Ragdoll cat lying on bed

Purr Blur:  Just before the final scene in which Ove is found dead, he is driving one of Parvaneh’s daughters in his car. As they travel down a winding road, a black cat crosses in front of the car. Likely a hint of what’s to come.

A Man Called Ove - black cat running across road in front of car

Final Mewsings: It’s a shame that a movie with such a positive feline character felt the need to throw in a stereotypical black cat bad omen.


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Jackals (2017)

Jackals poster

Tommy Alastra Productions (TAP)
Starring:
 Stephen Dorff, Deborah Kara Unger
Directed by: Kevin Greutert

Synopsis: A family rescues their son from a dangerous cult only to be targeted when the group comes for him.

Kitty Cameo: At the beginning of the film the camera shows the perspective of someone creeping towards a house. As the person approaches the back porch, a black cat can be seen lying on a bench.

Jackals - black cat lying on bench on porch

The person approaches the bench and then pauses to pet the cat before moving on. The cat is not seen again.

Jackals - black cat lying on bench

Jackals - black cat being petted on bench

Final Mewsings: A cat finally survives a horror film!


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Night of the Eagle (1962)

Night of the Eagle DVD

Also Known As:  Burn, Witch, Burn
Warner Bros.
Starring:
 Janet Blair, Peter Wyngarde, Margaret Johnston, Anthony Nicholls
Directed by: Sidney Hayers

Synopsis: Teacher Norman Taylor is a staunch skeptic (Peter Wyngarde), so when he suspects his wife Tansy (Janet Blair) has been practicing witchcraft he insists her fears of curses against them are unfounded and makes her stop. But when things start to spiral out of control in their lives he begins to doubt his faith in logic.

Kitty Cameo: A beautiful long-haired black cat lives in the Taylor’s home and is seen in several scenes.

Night of the Eagle - black cat sitting on stairs

Night of the Eagle - black cat sitting on desk

When Norman forces Tansy to burn her witchcrafting materials he waits until the end to burn the spider she keeps in an ivory box. As soon as the ornate box hits the flames the cat, which is sitting on a chair nearby, starts to hiss and screech and then runs from the room.

Night of the Eagle - black cat watching from chair

Later on the cat is instrumental (although seen only briefly, and thrown from offscreen as well) in a final evil spell against the Taylors.

Night of the Eagle - black cat screeching on chair

Final Mewsings: Never burn an ivory box decorated with skulls in front of a cat.  They may just set your house on fire later.


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