Monthly Archives: November 2015

Spies (1943)

Warner Bros.
Starring:
 Mel Blanc
Directed by: Chuck Jones

Synopsis: Private Snafu (voiced by Mel Blanc) has a secret he must not share, but as usual he manages to do exactly the wrong things and pretty soon everyone knows his secret, even the enemy!

Bad Kitty: This series of World War II cartoons were made as a way to train soldiers in basic facts of military life, each short focusing on a specific topic.  As Private Snafu gives out tiny pieces of information about his secret mission, eager ears are listening in.  In one scene, he is walking down the street and several characters pop out of the background and announce “The source has got a secret but I bet we find it out!”  One of the characters is a black cat in a downspout.

Private Snafu - Spies - black cat spy in downspout

Final Mewsings: Who knew cats were being used by the axis powers as spies?


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The House of Darkness (1913)

Biograph Company
Starring:
 Lionel Barrymore, Claire McDowell, Charles Hill Mailes
Directed by: D.W. Griffith

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

Synopsis: An unbalanced man (Charles Hill Mailes) escapes from a mental institution and happens upon the home of the asylum’s resident doctor (Lionel Barrymore) while the man’s wife (Claire McDowell) is at home.

Featured Feline: Early in this short the doctor marries his wife who is a nurse at the asylum.  When he takes her home he gives her a gift of a long-haired calico colored cat in a small container.

The House of Darkness - long-haired calico cat in carrier

The cat manages to exit the container at one point and the wife quickly scoops up the animal and holds her.  She then makes the cat wave goodbye to her husband as he leaves.

The House of Darkness - wife holds up long-haired calico cat

An unusual amount of time is spent watching the wife scritching the cat under the chin and opening and closing her cage door.  She also brings it a plate of food.

The House of Darkness - wife brings long-haired calico cat some food

Later when the patient escapes he happens upon the doctor’s house and sees the wife inside still playing with the cat in its carrier.  When the patient breaks into the house he motions to the cat several times but never interacts with her and the cat is not seen again outside the carrier.

The House of Darkness - wife holds long-haired calico cat's paw

Final Mewsings: The film promotes music therapy for the mentally ill.   Too bad they didn’t hit upon animal therapy then as well!


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The Watcher (2000)

The Watcher DVD

Universal Pictures
Starring:
 James Spader, Keanu Reeves, Rebekah Louise Smith
Directed by: Joe Charbanic

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

Synopsis: Joel Campbell (James Spader) is an FBI agent tormented by memories of the serial killer he could not catch.  Only the killer has come looking for him seeking to continue their game of cat and mouse.

Kitty Cameo: Killer David Allen Griffin (Keanu Reeves) targets a girl named Ellie (Rebekah Louise Smith) who works in a photo shop.  We see Ellie as she returns to her apartment and calls for someone named Frank.  Frank turns out to be her Himalayan cat.

The Watcher - Ellie with Himalayan cat Frank on counter

Frank is curled up with Ellie on her couch when the phone rings.

The Watcher - Ellie sets Himalayan cat Frank off couch

Ellie sets Frank down before picking up the phone.  As Ellie talks on the phone Frank wanders down the hallway where Griffin is waiting.

The Watcher - Himalayan cat Frank looks up at killer

Griffin pets the cat, which purrs.

The Watcher - Himalayan cat Frank

When the police arrive on the scene they note the absence of Ellie’s pet cat Frank.  Later in the film Frank is seen in Griffin’s car as Griffin is petting the cat.  Strangely enough Frank never appears again so we don’t know what ultimately happens to him.

The Watcher - Himalayan cat Frank in killer's car

Final Mewsings: Cats are not always the best judge of character.

Many thanks to KatWrangler for recommending this movie to us!


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Enchantment (1948)

Enchantment DVD cover

Samuel Goldwyn Company
Starring:
 David Niven, Gigi Perreau, Peter Miles
Directed by: Irving Reis

Synopsis: A multi-generational story about a British family living in London from the turn of the century through World War II and their struggles in finding and losing love.

Kitty Cameos: In an early flashback scene Rollo (David Niven) is remembering himself as a young boy (Peter Miles) with Lark (Gigi Perreau), a girl who was orphaned and brought to live with the family by their father.  Rollo comes downstairs the morning after Lark’s arrival and finds the little girl looking out of a window.  She explains that there is a cat stuck in the tree. We see a white cat in the bare tree outside.

Enchantment - white cat stuck in tree

Rollo explains that cats are always getting stuck in the tree.  In a later scene, Rollo (as an elderly man) looks out the window and sees a black cat as it attempts to climb down from the same tree.

Enchantment - black cat stuck in tree

Final Mewsings: Cats get pretty dirty after being stuck in a tree for numerous decades.


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Home for the Holidays (1995)

Home for the Holidays poster

Paramount Pictures
Starring:
 Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft
Directed by: Jodie Foster

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

Synopsis: Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter) is a single mom facing unemployment and the prospect of her daughter coming of age who dreads facing the most terrifying thing of all . . . Thanksgiving with her family back home.

Purr Blur: Claudia’s mom Adele (Anne Bancroft) and father Henry (Charles Durning) pick her up at the airport.  As they drive down the street towards their home a cat can just barely be seen crossing the street near the top of the hill.

Home for the Holidays - cat running across street way in background

Featured Feline: When Claudia arrives home her father, Henry (Charles Durning) enters the house.  A large Maine Coon cat is sitting on the stair landing but jumps to the floor below when he passes.

Home for the Holidays - Frank Maine Coon cat on stair landing

Claudia stoops down to greet the cat named Frank.  Frank coughs a little and Claudia wonders if he has a cold like her.  Instead Frank hacks up a hairball and then walks away.

Home for the Holidays - Frank Maine Coon cat hacking up hairball

Frank is seen several times in the film, mostly in the background as when he’s laying on the couch.

Home for the Holidays - Frank Maine Coon cat lying on couch

When Claudia’s brother, Tommy (Robert Downey Jr.) comes home he greets Frank in the kitchen by picking him up and yowling strangely at him.  Tommy notes that Frank is not responding at all when he sees his mother and sets the cat down before moving on to her.

Home for the Holidays - Frank Maine Coon cat being held up by Tommy Robert Downey Jr.

Later Claudia is distressed when she finds out that Russell Terziak (David Strathairn), a former boyfriend whom she rejected, is working on the heater.  Frank is seen sitting next to Russell as he works.

Home for the Holidays - Frank Maine Coon cat sitting next to Russell David Strathairn

When the family is gathered in the living room before dinner, Aunt Glady (Geraldine Chaplin) is seen scooping the filling from a piece of celery to give to Frank before eating the plain celery herself.

Home for the Holidays - Frank Maine Coon cat getting stuff off top of celery

Towards the end of the film, Claudia wakes up the morning after Thanksgiving and walks to the window.  Frank is sitting on the windowsill and she pets him.

Home for the Holidays - Frank Maine Coon cat on window ledge with Claudia Holly Hunter

Claudia goes downstairs holding Frank when her mother re-enters the house.

Home for the Holidays - Frank Maine Coon cat being held by Claudia Holly Hunter

Final Mewsings: Cats should always be included in family holiday gatherings.


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