Category Archives: Black Cat

The Paleface (1948)

The Paleface poster

Paramount Pictures
Starring:
 Bob Hope, Jane Russell
Directed by: Norman Z. McLeod

This review contains a very mild Kitty Carnage Warning!

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

Synopsis: Calamity Jane (Jane Russell) is coerced by the government to find out who is smuggling arms to the Indians. In turn she tricks a hapless dentist named Painless Peter Potter (Bob Hope) into helping her.

Cat Burglar (Scene Stealer): Late in the movie Painless is sneaking into an undertaker’s office where they suspect the arms are being stored. As he makes his way through the night, a black cat suddenly jumps out of a barrel in front of him in true spring-loaded cat fashion.

The Paleface - Painless Potter Bob Hope startled by black cat coming out of barrel

The Paleface - Painless Potter Bob Hope startled by black cat coming out of barrel

The Paleface - Painless Potter Bob Hope startled by black cat coming out of barrel animated gif

Painless makes a great effort to climb through a transom to get into the undertaker’s place. Once done the front door starts to slowly open. Painless pulls his gun and waits for the intruder. It turns out to the be same black cat coming in through the open door!

The Paleface - Painless Potter Bob Hope startled by black cat coming through door

The Paleface - Painless Potter Bob Hope startled by black cat coming through door

The Paleface - Painless Potter Bob Hope startled by black cat coming through door animated gif

Painless finds himself about to be caught by the bad guys when they suddenly arrive, so he climbs onto a table and puts a sheet over himself to appear as if he is a corpse. But the black cat isn’t done with him yet! The cat appears and jumps up under the sheet!

The Paleface - black cat about to climb dynamite crates

The Paleface - black cat climbing dynamite crates to crawl under sheet animated gif

The cat makes its way up Painless’ body under the sheet then sits with its tail in Painless’ face, waving it back and forth across his nose.

The Paleface - Painless Potter Bob Hope startled by black cat's tail under his nose

Kitty Carnage Warning!  Finally Painless gets fed up and bites the cat’s tail. The cat goes flying from the table with a screech, taking the sheet with him and leaving Painless to defend himself against the bad guys. The saving grace of this scene is the fact that it’s obvious the cat tail and flying cat are both fake.

The Paleface - Painless Potter Bob Hope looking at black cat's rear end in front of his face

The Paleface - Painless Potter Bob Hope biting black cat's tail

Final Mewsings: Friendly cats don’t understand espionage.


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Inferno (1980)

Inferno poster

Produzioni Intersound
Starring:
 Leigh McCloskey, Irene Miracle
Directed by: Dario Argento

This review contains severe Kitty Carnage Warnings!

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

Synopsis: The second entry in Argento’s Three Mothers trilogy. Rose Elliott (Irene Miracle) suspects evil happening in and around the New York building where she lives and she calls on her brother Mark (Leigh McCloskey) to travel from Rome to help her. But is he too late?

Cat Cattle Call: There are numerous cats in the film, many of which are hanging out around the antique bookstore and curio shop next to the building in New York run by Kazanian (Sacha Pitoëff). The cats are in the alley outside the store as Rose seeks to find an entry to her building’s cellar. One of the cats even approaches her but turns away when she opens the cellar door. Food seems to have been used as an incentive to keep the cats on their marks.

Inferno - Rose Irene Elliott in alley with cats

Inferno - Rose Irene Elliott in alley with cats

Later in Rome we see Mark attending a college music appreciation class, but he is distracted by a ravishing woman holding a cream colored Persian cat. She seems to be casting a spell upon him. At the very least, she distracts him from reading the letter he has received from his sister.

Inferno - mysterious woman with cream Persian cat in music class

Mark looks for the woman when the class ends but she is walking away.

Inferno - mysterious woman with cream Persian cat leaving music class

Mark arrives in New York and meets his sister’s upstairs neighbor, Countess Elise De Longvalle Adler (Daria Nicolodi). They try to figure out the mystery behind Rose’s disappearance. In the interim, cats are seen around the building, often eating meat which is being fed to them. The origin of the meat, well, you will just have to guess!

Inferno - black cat and tuxedo cat sitting on cushion

In Kazanian’s store, a black cat is accidentally grabbed as the man stumbles. The cat then knocks over a statue, breaking it. The alley cats are still hanging around outside, too.

Inferno - black cat accidentally being grabbed

In one scene Elise is wandering around the building alone when she is suddenly attacked by numerous cats. As in most cat attack scenes, the poor cat actors are actually just thrown at the actress; catapulted at her, if you will. An extraordinary amount of cat fur is flying in these scenes.

Inferno - Rose being attacked by cats

If you look closely, you can see the actress who plays Elise is replaced by a stunt double wearing a kind of mannequin head to avoid being accidentally clawed on the face and head by the cats. This is used for most of the scene.

Inferno - stunt Rose head being attacked by cats

Inferno - stunt Rose head being attacked by cats animated gif

You can also actually see the arm of the person throwing one of the cats into the scene! The bad thing is that some of the cats seem to be fighting each other in the confusion. In any case, they are certainly fighting each other more than they are attacking the person.

Inferno - man's arm throwing cat at fake Rose being attacked by cats

Inferno - stunt Rose being attacked by cats

Inferno - close up of cat's mouth

Inferno - stunt Rose being attacked by cats

Inferno - stunt Rose being attacked by cats

Inferno - close up of tuxedo cat's face

Later, Kazanian approaches a sweet-looking tuxedo cat which is sitting beneath a table in his store.

Inferno - Kazanian Sacha Pitoëff looking at gray tuxedo cat under table

Kitty Carnage Warning!  This is where things turn ugly for the cats. Kazanian coaxes the tuxedo cat out only to grab it by the scruff. The poor cat actor is struggling as the man carries him across the room. The man then slams the cat’s head against the back of a chair. Fortunately the cat used for the head slamming shot is a fake one, but it is a disturbing moment.

Inferno - Kazanian Sacha Pitoëff picking up gray tuxedo cat by scruff

Kazanian then takes things to extremes when he opens a sack full of live cats and throws the tuxedo cat inside. He then proceeds to take the sack down to the water and drowns the cats. He does get his comeuppance, but not until after the cats are drowned. A mechanism was used inside the closed bag to make it look as if it were full of cats.

Inferno - cats inside burlap sack

Near the end of the movie, Mark is digging under the floor of Rose’s room when a tuxedo cat appears and then runs in, ducking down under the floorboards.

Inferno - tuxedo cat looking in through window

This same tuxedo cat is later seen attacking and eating a live mouse.

Inferno - tuxedo cat eating mouse

It is reported that assistant director Lamberto Bava wrangled so many cats for the film that he can no longer stand to be in a room with a cat and has avoided them ever since.

Inferno - close up of black cat's eye

Inferno - silhouette of cat on wall

Final Mewsings: Cats have been avoiding Lamberto Bava since this film as well!


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Blood and Sand (1941)

Blood and Sand poster

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring:
 Tryone Power, Linda Darnell
Directed by: Rouben Mamoulian

Synopsis: Peasant boy Juan Gallardo (Tyrone Power) rises to fame as a matador.

Purr Blur: In the beginning of the film a young Juan and his friends travel to Madrid. On the way they pass mile markers showing how much further there is to go. On the 300 km marker there is a black cat which is eating some kind of meat as they pass.

Blood and Sand - black cat eating on 300 km marker as boys pass

Blood and Sand - black cat eating on 300 km marker as boy passes

Final Mewsings: Cats appreciate meat left on mile markers!

Many thanks to Kitty L. for letting us know about the cat in this film!


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Miniature Dachshund Pups (1957)

British Pathé

Synopsis: Newsreel footage shows miniature dachshund pups being groomed and fed in a country inn.

Reality Cats: This footage was taken at a country inn in Dunsmore, Buckinghamshire, England where the proprietors, Ted and Georgina Fox, are walking their dachshunds. As they approach the front door of the inn, a tuxedo cat can be seen sitting in front.

Miniature Dachshund Pups - cat sitting outside country inn as couple approaches with dachshunds

The focus of the piece is of course on the dogs, especially two miniature dachshund pups named Samson and Delilah. But several shots of this same cat, plus one black cat (likely residents of the inn) are also shown, although no mention of them is made.

Miniature Dachshund Pups - black cat inside country inn

Miniature Dachshund Pups - tuxedo cat inside country inn

Miniature Dachshund Pups - tuxedo cat preening inside country inn

Final Mewsings: Country inn cats are not impressed with pups in cups.


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Charlie Chan in Paris (1935)

Charlie Chan in Paris poster

Fox Film Corporation
Starring:
 Warner Oland, Mary Brian
Directed by: Lewis Seiler

Synopsis: Famed detective Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) heads to Paris where he tries to track down the killers behind a forged bond scheme.

Purr Blur: In one scene Chan is exploring the basement of a building. In the light of a flashlight a black cat can barely be seen jumping down from a counter and scurrying away.

Charlie Chan in Paris - black cat in darkness class=

Final Mewsings: Le chat noir doesn’t stick around to be questioned!


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