Monthly Archives: March 2015

Lassie – “Superstition”

Lassie Jeff's Collie DVD

Original Air Date: December 30, 1956
Starring: Tommy Rettig, Joey D. Vieira, Jan Clayton
Directed by: Philip Ford

Synopsis: Porky (Joey D. Vieira) sees a black cat cross Lassie’s path and then watches as Lassie walks under a ladder.  His continual warnings about bad luck befalling Lassie starts to worry Jeff (Tommy Rettig) and so the boys go to extremes to try to protect her.

Kitty Cameo: The black cat shows up at the beginning of the episode when Porky arrives at the Miller’s farm.  The cat scurries into the scene to sniff at something on the ground and then runs in front of Lassie who has come to the entrance of the barn.

Lassie - Superstition black cat crosses Lassie's path

Porky is immediately apprehensive about Lassie’s luck but Tommy tries to reassure him that there’s nothing to superstitions.

Lassie - Superstition black cat and Lassie

As they talk the black cat again crosses Lassie’s path, causing Porky to moan “Double trouble!”

Lassie - Superstition black cat crosses Lassie's path again

Final Mewsings: It’s bad luck for a black cat to have a superstitious boy cross its path.


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Feline Follies (1919)

Felix the Cat DVD

Pat Sullivan Cartoons
Directed by:
 Otto Messmer

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

Synopsis: In Pussyville, Master Tom and Miss Kitty White start up an affair in which they meet at various places around town.  While they are out on the town, the mice in Master Tom’s home go on a spree.

Cartoon Cat: This is considered to be the first screen appearance of Felix the Cat, although the character has not yet been dubbed with that iconic name.  There appears to be some question as to whether Felix was created by animation studio head Pat Sullivan or his lead animator Otto Messmer.

Feline Follies - Master Tom hears Miss Kitty White's call

Despite the various claims of creation, Felix did originate from Sullivan’s Studios and was born in this silent short.  Here he is named Master Tom and meets up with Miss Kitty White for a romantic interlude.

Feline Follies - Master Tom and Miss Kitty White

Master Tom is shown preening while the mice watch on in surprise.  After Master Tom leaves the house, the mice come out to play.

Feline Follies - the mice watch Master Tom preen

Master Tom first meets Miss Kitty White on a back fence and disturbs the neighborhood with his caterwauling.  Their next tryst is by an ash can where Tom plays the banjo and Kitty dances.

Feline Follies - Master Tom plays banjo for Miss Kitty White

Tom goes home to sleep and the lady of the house finds the disaster the mice have created and throws Tom out by the tail.

Feline Follies - woman finds Master Tom sleeping and home wrecked by mice

Homeless, Master Tom goes to Miss Kitty, only to find he has a number of offspring to his name.

Feline Follies - the unexpected offspring of Master Tom

The ending of the short is shocking by modern standards, since Master Tom sticks a gas hose in his mouth to end it all.  But what looks to be the end is actually only the beginning for this cartoon cat!

Final Mewsings: Felix would go on to have many more lives after this!


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The White Sister (1923)

The White Sister poster

Metro Pictures Corporation
Starring:
 Lillian Gish, Ronald Colman, Gail Kane
Directed by: Henry King

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

Synopsis: Angela Chiaromonte (Lillian Gish) is the innocent, adoring daughter of an Italian count.  When she loses everything due to a conniving and jealous older step-sister, she still has the love of her life, Capt. Giovanni Severini (Ronald Coleman).  However he is reported killed while on a mission in Africa and Angela then devotes her life to the church as a nun, not expecting his sudden return.

Kitty Cameo: As if there isn’t enough already going on in this story there is the impending eruption of Mt. Vesuvius leading up to the climax.  When the volcano first starts rumbling, the animals in the Italian town are shown reacting.  Dogs are seen trying to wake up their owners.  And a tuxedo mama cat is shown picking up one of her kittens.

The White Sister - mama cat goes to pick up kitten

The mama cat carries the kitten down a street.

The White Sister - mama cat carries kitten down street

Finally she deposits the kitten with the rest of her litter.  Hopefully after this they somehow caught a carriage leaving the area.

The White Sister - mama cat carries kitten to rest of litter

Final Mewsings: Can cats outrun volcanoes?  We sure hope so!


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Voice of the Whistler (1945)

Voice of the Whistler poster

Columbia Pictures
Starring:
 Richard Dix, Lynn Merrick
Directed by: William Castle

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

Synopsis: The wealthy John Sinclair (Richard Dix) is ordered to seek rest and relaxation by his doctor.  He travels to Chicago where he makes the acquaintance of a friendly cab driver named Sparrow (Rhys Williams) and a beautiful nurse named Joan (Lynn Merrick).  Thinking he only has a few months to live, he asks Joan to marry him and promises her his fortune.  But when he starts to recover it leads to disaster.

Kitty Cameos: There is a scene at the beginning of the film which shows a woman living in isolation in a remote light house.  She is holding two kittens in her arms.

Voice of the Whistler - woman holding kittens

At the end of the film we realize the woman is Joan after everything has gone so badly.

Voice of the Whistler - Joan holding kittens

Final Mewsings: Greed can turn you into a crazy cat lady.


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Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

Elevator to the Gallows DVD

Nouvelles Éditions de Films (NEF)
Starring:
 Maurice Ronet, Jeanne Moreau, Jean Wall
Directed by: Louis Malle

Synopsis: Julien Tavernier (Maurice Ronet) comes up with a seemingly foolproof plan for murdering Simon Carala (Jean Wall), the husband of his lover Florence (Jeanne Moreau) and also his boss.  But the plan unravels when Julien leaves behind a crucial piece of evidence and re-enters the office building to retrieve it.

Kitty Cameo: Just after Julian kills Simon in the man’s office he is preparing to leave when he looks up and sees a black cat walking by the window, balanced precariously on a railing along the edge of the building.

Elevator to the Gallows - black cat on railing outside window

The black cat was probably Malle’s way of foreshadowing the disasters about to befall Julien.

Elevator to the Gallows - black cat on railing outside window looking in

Final Mewsings: A black cat crossing your path on a precarious railing high above the ground may be worse luck for the cat than for you.


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