Monthly Archives: November 2015

Coquette (1929)

Coquette poster

Pickford Corporation
Starring:
 Mary Pickford, Johnny Mack Brown, Matt Moore
Directed by: Sam Taylor

Synopsis: Norma Besant (Mary Pickford) is a flirtacious Southern Belle who is a real heartbreaker.  But when she falls in love with a man of whom her father does not approve, it’s her heart which is broken.

Purr Blur: At the very beginning of this film a man is seen sitting on a back porch, playing a guitar and singing.  A black and white cat is sitting next to him on the porch, swishing its tail.

Coquette - tuxedo cat sitting on back porch with singer

Final Mewsings: Cats enjoy being serenaded.


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Stage Door (1937)

Stage Door DVD

RKO Radio Pictures
Starring:
 Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Eve Arden
Directed by: Gregory La Cava

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

Synopsis: A screen adaptation of the play by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman.  A collection of young girls, all Broadway hopefuls, share laughs, loves and tears in the Footlights Club boarding house.

Cinema Cat: This film boasts an all-star cast but one pair stands out in particular.  Present for many of the scenes in the boarding house is a young Eve Arden playing Eve (the actress would say that this film was her big break) and with her is another major movie star, none other than Whitey the cat, already a veteran feline actor, this time playing a cat named Henry.

Stage Door - white cat Whitey with Eve Arden

Eve is often seen throughout the movie with Henry, either sitting with him in her lap …

Stage Door - white cat Whitey sitting in Eve Arden's lap

 …carrying Henry around …

Stage Door - white cat Whitey in Eve Arden's arms

 … or most notably wearing Henry like a fur stole in an early moment in the film.

Stage Door - Eve Arden with white cat Whitey over shoulders

Whitey is exceptionally calm throughout the film, sitting quietly as Eve pets or even brushes him.

Stage Door - white cat Whitey happy with Eve Arden

Several specific jokes are told about Henry, such as when Eve points out to him what will happen if he is a bad cat, making him eye a white fur coat.

Stage Door - Eve Arden shows white cat Whitey fur coat

At the very end of the film Eve is seen without Henry and it is explained that Henry is in the pet hospital . . . having had a litter of kittens!

Whitey received some press for his role.  One article in The Milwaukee Journal from July 4, 1937 stated:

There is one veteran on the set whose name probably will not appear on the credits.  He is Whitey, an ordinary white alley cat, whose salary is $25 a day.  Whitey was a “find” of a master who, in a burst of generosity, paid 25¢ for him as a kitten.  He has been trained for two years and apparently has no nerves.  Being white, he can be (and has been) painted in several designs.  He responds to silent signals and will meow or purr readily on cue.

There was a bit of a mixed message regarding what Whitey was like to work with.  While articles covering some of his other film appearances usually focused on his tendency to run or hide during filming, the Ottawa Citizen from October 17, 1944 commented on how Eve Arden supposedly adopted the cat after filming, stating:

Eve Arden, who got her start in “Stage Door” seven years ago, is celebrating the anniversary this week with a novel luncheon for members of the original cast.  As a wise-cracking chorus girl, it may be remembered that Eve wore a live cat as a fur piece in that movie.  She has kept the cat as a good-luck house guest through all the years and at the luncheon it will be honor guest [sic].  Other guests will be Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Gail Patrick, Ann Miller, Andrea Leeds and Lucille Ball.”

Stage Door - Eve Arden eyeing white cat Whitey

But only a few months later The Milwaukee Journal on December 31, 1944, referred to Whitey in an article about Eve this way:

She wore a bad-tempered cat around her neck as a fur piece in ‘Stage Door’ and it scratched her every day.

It seems doubtful that Eve Arden took home Whitey after acting with him, since Whitey continued to work on films for some time afterwards.  But given Whitey’s fiery temper while on many sets the scratching part may not be as hard to believe.

Stage Door - white cat Whitey with Eve Arden and girls

Final Mewsings: Whitey’s acting ambitions probably never included playing a neckpiece.


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New Girl – “Nerd”

New Girl Season 3 DVD

Original Air Date: September 24, 2013
Starring: Lamorne Morris, Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield
Directed by: Fred Goss

Synopsis: Jess (Zooey Deschanel) asks Nick (Jake Johnson) for advice on how she can fit in with her fellow teachers at school.  In the meantime, Winston (Lamorne Morris) agrees to take care of Daisy’s (Brenda Song) cat, Ferguson.

Featured Feline: Ferguson is an Exotic Shorthair cat.  When Winston goes to Daisy’s house to pick up Ferguson she has him ready in his carrier.  Winston asks if they can be exclusive and Daisy agrees but it’s pretty clear that she has a man in the bathroom at the time.

New Girl - Nerd - Ferguson Scottish fold cat in carrier

Winston realizes Daisy is cheating on him and tells Nick.  Winston doesn’t know what to do but then announces that he thinks he’s going to kill Daisy’s cat.  He looks at Ferguson and says straight up, “I’m gonna kill you.”

New Girl - Nerd - close up of Ferguson Scottish fold cat

Winston can’t decide which way he wants to kill Ferguson so he decides to let the cat choose the method of his demise.  He dangles a noose in front of Ferguson and the cat plays with it.

New Girl - Nerd - Ferguson Scottish fold cat playing with noose close

New Girl - Nerd - Ferguson Scottish fold cat in carrier

Nick is trying to talk Jess out of doing something stupid and notices Winston has a hammer and runs over to grab it from him.  At that moment Ferguson disappears.

New Girl - Nerd - Winston threatens Ferguson Scottish fold cat with hammer

Later Winston is about to smother Ferguson with a pillow but the cat meows.

New Girl - Nerd - Winston about to smother Ferguson Scottish fold cat with pillow

New Girl - Nerd - Ferguson Scottish fold cat meows

Winston can’t bring himself to do it.

New Girl - Nerd - Ferguson Scottish fold cat looking up

Near the end of the episode Winston takes Ferguson back to Daisy and gets it confirmed that she has had sex with another man.  He states he deserves better . . . and so does Ferguson.  He takes the carrier back and states, “I’m keeping the cat.”  Ferguson then became a semi-regular character on the series.

New Girl - Nerd - Ferguson Scottish fold cat looking cute

Cat Burglars (Scene Stealers):  At the beginning of the episode Winston is running around asking everyone if they know anything about cats.  Schimdt (Max Greenfield) says he has a funny story about cats and we see a quick scene of him in what looks like a barn with a cowboy outfit on and kittens on his chest, one of them licking one of his nipples.

New Girl - Nerd - kittens licking Schmidt's nipples

At the end of the episode Winston, Jess and Nick spot Schmidt sleeping on the couch with Ferguson licking his nipple.

New Girl - Nerd - Ferguson Scottish fold cat licking Schmidt's nipples

Final Mewsings: Girlfriends come and go but cats are forever!


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The Opposite Sex (1956)

The Opposite Sex DVD cover

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Starring:
 June Allyson, Joan Collins, Dolores Gray
Directed by: David Miller

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

Synopsis: Kay Ashley Hilliard (June Allyson) has been happily married to her theatrical producer husband Steve (Leslie Nielsen) for ten years, but the gossip around New York society has it that Steve has been having a tryst with Crystal (Joan Collins), a conniving dancer in his show.

Kitty Cameo: In one scene Crystal has asked Steve to meet her for dinner at her apartment.  We cut to the scene of Crystal getting ready in her bedroom, but the first shot is of her black and white cat laying on the bed.  The camera pans off the cat and it is not seen again in the film.

The Opposite Sex - black and white cat laying on bed

Final Mewsings: Even a cat can’t upstage Joan Collins!


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The Red Kimona (1925)

The Red Kimona DVD

Mrs. Wallace Reid Productions
Starring:
 Priscilla Bonner, Carl Miller, Virginia Pearson
Directed by: Walter Lang

Synopsis: A young girl named Gabrielle (Priscilla Bonner) finds herself on trial for murder and tells her story of being forced into prostitution by the man she loves.  She is then exploited by a self-centered society matron (Virginia Pearson) and shunned by society as a whole.

Kitty Cameos: At one point in the film the matron, whose name is Mrs. Fontaine, arranges a get-together with her society friends where she basically puts Gabrielle on display.  She introduces Gabrielle by comparing her to a wounded bird.  The maid who is watching this callous display imagines that poor Gabrielle is a bird surrounded by cats.  The scene is illustrated with a shot of the women surrounding Gabrielle fading to a scene of several cats surrounding a small, motionless bird.  The black cat of the group is pawing at the bird.

The Red Kimona - cats surrounding helpless bird

Final Mewsings: People need to stop comparing nasty women to cats and female dogs.


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