Monthly Archives: November 2014

Knights on the Highway (1938)

The Jam Handy Organization

Synopsis: A safety film produced for the Chevrolet Motor Division and General Motors Sales Corporation which takes a look at six rules for safe night-time driving.

Kitty Cameo: After an awkward introduction by the President of the American Road Builders’ Association, a narrator explains the importance of driving safely at night and how truck drivers know the rules to keep them safe.  As a way of illustrating the limitation of our sight at night, we are shown a white cat and a black cat sitting on a fence.

Knights on the Highway - white cat and black cat

A moment later the scene is darkened and it is pointed out how both the white cat and black cat look gray in the dark.

Knights on the Highway - white cat and black cat silhouette

Final Mewsings: Watch out for our furry friends while driving at night!

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Spider Baby, or The Maddest Story Ever Told (1967)

Spider Baby DVD

 Lon Chaney Jr., Beverly Washburn, Sid Haig
Directed by: Jack Hill

Synopsis: A gentle, kind-hearted chauffeur named Bruno (Lon Chaney Jr.) cares for the children of his late employer, keeping the Merrye family and their genetic degenerative disease which causes them to regress to child-like but bestial killers a secret from the world.  And all is well until distant relatives show up on the scene looking to dispossess the family from their manor.

Kitty Cameo: When the unwanted relatives show up and announce they are staying the night, Bruno has to figure out what to serve everyone for dinner.  He sends the children out to look for something.  Ralph (Sid Haig) sneaks up on a cat which has wandered onto the property and then lunges at it.  We then hear yowling offscreen.

Spider Baby cat

Kitty Carnage Warning! And yes, they serve the cat for dinner.  But we don’t see the cat killed and the cooked carcass presented could be almost anything.

Final Mewsings: It’s okay to have a cat for dinner as long as he isn’t the main course.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban DVD

Warner Bros.
 Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, David Bradley
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

Synopsis: Year three at Hogwart’s finds Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) concerned about the escape of a notoriously dangerous criminal named Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) whom everyone is convinced is out to kill Harry.

Kitty Cameos: This is the first appearance of Hermione’s (Emma Watson) cat Crookshanks, an orange, long-haired Persian who enjoys chasing Ron’s (Rupert Grint) rat Scabbers.  We first see Crookshanks chasing Scabbards at the Leaky Cauldron Inn where Harry is staying in London.  The two animals lead him to Ron and Hermione.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Crookshanks cat with Hermione and Ron

On the train to Hogwart’s Crookshanks is seen in the compartment with Harry, Ron, Hermione and Professor Lupin (David Thewlis) when the Dementors enter looking for Sirius Black.  Crookshanks hisses angrily when one of the Dementors leans into their compartment.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Crookshanks hisses

After Harry is overcome and saved by Professor Lupin, Crookshanks is sitting on the seat next to him.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Crookshanks next to Harry on train

Finally Crookshanks is seen briefly outside of the school as Harry, Ron and Hermione pass and Ron complains that Crookshanks has killed Scabbers.  Of course we later find out that Scabbers is very much alive and pivotal to the plot!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Crookshanks on Hogwarts' grounds

The part of Crookshanks was reportedly played on screen by cat actors Crackerjack and Pumpkin.  The trainers stated that they took hair brushed from Crackerjack and stuck it back on to make it look ragged and ratty.

Mrs. Norris, the cat who is the constant companion of Argus Filch (David Bradley), Hogwart’s caretaker, also appears briefly in the scene in which something has attacked The Fat Lady in the painting which guards the door to Gryffindor Tower.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Mrs. Norris cat with Argus Filch and Dumbledore

Final Mewsings: Cats know which rats are really rats!

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Our Mother’s House (1967)

Our Mother's House poster

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British Studios
 Dirk Bogarde, Maggie Brooks, Pamela Franklin
Directed by: Jack Clayton

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

Synopsis: Based on the novel by Julian Cloag.  The seven young Hook children live with their ailing mother until she dies unexpectedly.  The oldest daughter, Diana (Pamela Franklin) takes charge of the family and determines they should carry on as they have been, burying her in the backyard and not tellng anyone about her death.  Their lives are further complicated when a man thought to be their father (Dirk Bogarde) returns.

Purr Blur: As the Hook children leave home to go to school for the first time since their mother’s death, they walk away from their home down the sidewalk.  Coming the opposite direction and staying close to the wall is an orange and white cat.

Our Mother's House cat on sidewalk

Final Mewsings: It’s nice to share the sidewalk with our feline friends!

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Le placard (2001)

The Closet DVD

English Title: The Closet
 Daniel Auteuil, Gérard Depardieu, Michel Aumont
Directed by: Francis Veber

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

Synopsis: François Pignon (Daniel Auteuil) is a quiet man leading a dull life.  His co-workers find him boring, so when he is fired almost no one cares.  François meets a concerned new neighbor who comes up with a scheme to help him get his job back but it involves him “coming out.”

Cat Burglar (Scene Stealer): When François returns to his apartment after losing his job he hears a tiny mewing on his balcony.  He looks out to find the most adorable Scottish fold kitten looking up at him.  He gets the cat a tiny saucer of milk and then says he is going to jump off the balcony and kill himself.  This is when his new neighbor, Belone (Michel Aumont) intercedes.

The Closet - kitten on balcony

François goes back into his apartment and moments later a note is slipped under his door which reads, “Give me back my cat!”  He opens the door to give Belone the kitten and Belone manages to keep talking to François and get him to come over to talk.  As it turns out Belone didn’t own the kitten but when François doesn’t want it he decides to keep it.

The Closet - kitten on couch

The kitten is seen again a couple more times in the film.  First when François has gone through some rough incidents after they launch their scheme for him to keep his job and he blames the kitten, saying that if it hadn’t shown up none of this would have happened.

Later Belone is depressed because the kitten has disappeared.  Seeing how much Belone misses the tiny animal, François promises to find it for him.  In a later scene he shows up at Belone’s door one evening with the kitten.  Only Belone can tell it is not the same kitten and a short time later they hear a tiny meow on Belone’s balcony.  Sure enough the other kitten has returned and Belone now has two kittens!

The Closet - Belone with two kittens

In the end credits the actors’ names are shown with photographs and Michel Aumont is shown as Belone holding the two kittens.

Final Mewsings: The only thing better than an adorable kitten is *two* adorable kittens!

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