Monthly Archives: May 2014

Tales of Terror (1962)

Tales of Terror DVD

MGM Studios
 Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Joyce Jamison
Directed by: Roger Corman

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

Synopsis: A classic trilogy of terror based (somewhat loosely) on the short stories of Edgar Allen Poe.  Includes the segments Morella, The Black Cat and The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.

Featured Feline: Our interest, of course, concerns the second story, The Black Cat.  Based on the Poe story of the same name (with a touch of The Cask of Amontillado thrown in for good measure) the segment stars Peter Lorre as Montresor, an insufferable drunk and abusive husband who hates cats, particularly the black cat adored by his gorgeous wife Annabel (Joyce Jamison.)

Tales of Terror - The Black Cat

After bringing home the charming Fortunato Luchresi (Vincent Price) after a wine-tasting challenge, Annabel and Fortunato find a mutual attraction while Montresor is passed out on the floor.  We won’t spoil the story; suffice it to say the cat plays a major role!

Tales of Terror - The Black Cat end

Final Mewsings: Peter Lorre, Vincent Price, a cat and wine.  What more does a movie need?

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Black Cats (1953)

British Pathé

Synopsis: Newsreel footage covers auditions in London’s West End for a black cat to co-star in an unidentified stage play alongside human actors Jimmy Hanley, Grace Arnold and Hazel Court.

Reality Cats: It’s a virtual sea of black cats in this open cat cattle call.  The aspiring feline thespians are brought by their owners, beckoned by an advertisement in the newspaper from a theatrical booking company.

Black Cats audition

The cat who is eventually cast is Pixie, although her understudy Lucky is the one showcased in the final shot.

Black Cats audition winner

Final Mewsings: Just like humans, for every part there are dozens of cat actors.

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So You Think You’re Allergic? (1945)

Vitaphone Corporation
 Knox Manning
Directed by: Richard L. Bare

Synopsis: A Joe McDoakes short comedy about a man who believes he is allergic to everything.

Purr Blur: In a segment called “Kachoo’s Who,” one of the allergy culprits is, of course, a cat.  A man is seen sitting in a chair with a cat in his lap, which he begins to react to and lifts up to drop on the floor, not realizing it’s the tissue he uses that actually makes him sneeze.

So You Think You're Allergic cat

Final Mewsings: Don’t assume the cat is making you sneeze.

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The Secret of NIMH (1982)

The Secret of NIMH artwork

 Elizabeth Hartman, Dom DeLuise, Derek Jacobi
Directed by: Don Bluth

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

Synopsis: The dark and intense story of a field mouse named Mrs. Brisby (voiced by Elizabeth Hartman) who goes to great lengths to save the lives of her family from a farmer’s tractor.  In her quest for assistance, she learns that her husband had a secret connection to the highly intelligent rats living by the farmer’s house.

Bad Kitty: One constant nemesis to Mrs. Brisby and the rats is the farmer’s cat Dragon, a large brute of a feline which prowls the vicinity of the farmhouse and threatens all within his pounce.  In an early scene, Mrs. Brisby meets a feather-brained crow named Jeremy (voiced by Dom Deluise) who explains that he is allergic to cats.  Of course he starts sneezing because Dragon is sneaking up upon them.

The Secret of NIMH cat

The Secret of NIMH cat Dragon

Later it is revealed that the rats have their own special way of dealing with Dragon by drugging his food and Mrs. Brisby takes a part in this towards the end of the movie.

The Secret of NIMH cat and Mrs. Brisby

Final Mewsings: Cats sleep so much it’s hard to know when they’ve been drugged by rats.

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The Washington Masquerade (1932)

The Washington Masquerade poster

 Lionel Barrymore, Karen Morley, Diane Sinclair
Directed by: Charles Brabin

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

Synopsis: Lawyer Jeff Keane (Lionel Barrymore) sets his sights on a Senate seat in order to replace a crooked incumbent.  Once in Washington, he starts out living by his ideals but then gets sidelined by the beautiful Consuela Fairbanks (Karen Morley) who has ulterior motives in marrying the widower.

Cat Burglar (Scene Stealer): During one visit to Consuela, Senator Keane is led by her maid to her boudoir where he finds a white Angora cat sitting on a chair.  Consuela explains the cat’s name is The Emperor and she picks him up, setting him on her lap as she and the Senator sit together and discuss their relationship.

The Washington Masquerade cat

The Emperor is seen throughout the rest of this scene, even being handed to the Senator by Consuela at the end, but sadly does not turn up again for the rest of the film.

The Washington Masquerade cat The Emperor

Final Mewsings: All cats are Emperors at heart.

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