Monthly Archives: January 2016

Rat Life and Diet in North America (1968)

Directed by: Joyce Wieland

Synopsis: This experimental short film from Joyce Wieland is a visual allegory against the corporate and military structure of the global village using rats in the role of the oppressed.

Cinema Cat: The rats are shown as political prisoners under constant surveillance by cats.  The cats are sitting outside a window looking in at the rats as they run around.

Rat Life and Diet in North America - tabby cat watching mouse through window

Rat Life and Diet in North America - tabby cat watching mice through window

Rat Life and Diet in North America - tabby cat looking up

Every so often a close up of a black cat’s eye is shown.

Rat Life and Diet in North America - close up of black cat's eye

Final Mewsings: The cats didn’t want to oppress the rats, they just wanted some lunch!


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Il castello dei morti vivi (1964)

Castle of the Living Dead DVD

English title: Castle of the Living Dead
Filmsonor
Starring:
 Christopher Lee, Donald Sutherland, Gaia Germani
Directed by: Warren Kiefer

Synopsis: A group of traveling performers are called to put on a special show at a creepy castle for an eccentric scientist named Count Drago (Christopher Lee) who lives with a menagerie of oddly well-preserved animals.

Kitty Cameo: In one scene the female performer of the group, Laura (Gaia Germani) has gone back into the castle after a funeral.  She is holding a cat in her arms when Count Drago (Christopher Lee) enters.  Laura continues to hold the cat as Count Drago talks to her.  She then puts it down on the table and moves away.

Castle of the Living Dead - Laura with cat in her arms

Later Laura is in her room and about to drink some brandy she finds on her bedside table.  The door opens slightly and she asks who it is.  The door opens more and she becomes startled, dropping the glass.  But it turns out to be the cat, who enters the room.

Castle of the Living Dead - cat enters room through door

The cat walks over to the puddle of brandy on the floor and starts to drink as Laura laughs, noting the cat will become drunk.

Castle of the Living Dead - cat drinks brandy spilled on floor

Instead, the cat suddenly freezes, becoming like the other animals in Count Drago’s castle.  This effect was done by freezing the film on a particular frame.

Castle of the Living Dead - cat freezes in place

Final Mewsings: Cats shouldn’t drink brandy.


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Aparajito (1956)

Aparajito DVD

Epic Productions
Starring:
 Pinaki Sengupta, Smaran Ghosal, Charuprakash Ghosh
Directed by: Satyajit Ray

Synopsis: The second in what is known as the Apu trilogy by director Satyajit Ray.  Apu (played by Pinaki Sengupta as a child and Smaran Ghosal as an adolescent) and his mother move from Benares after a sad event.  Apu studies to be a priest but prefers to go to school which eventually leads him to leave home to move to Calcutta.

Kitty Cameos: In one segment of the film a staircase leading from the upper part of Apu’s house is shown.  Two kittens are sitting on the steps, along with a small toy horse.  One of the kittens goes up the stairs but the other remains on the step.

Aparajito - two white kittens on stairs

Kitty Carnage Warning! Nanda (Charuprakash Ghosh), the upstairs neighbor, comes down wearing his fancy shoes.  We only see his feet as he descends but we get the impression he may be drunk.  The kitten looks nervous and tries to find a way to get away, but Nanda kicks at the kitten with his foot.  While the action isn’t horribly violent, it’s disturbing to watch the kitten being shoved by the man’s foot.

Aparajito - white kittens on stair as Nanda in shoes approaches

Final Mewsings: It doesn’t matter how nice your shoes are if you use them to abuse cats!


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P.S. Your Cat is Dead! (2002)

P.S. Your Cat is Dead! DVD

Mr. Kirby Productions
Starring:
 Steve Guttenberg, Lombardo Boyar, Cynthia Watros
Directed by: Steve Guttenberg

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

Synopsis: Based on the novel and play by James Kirkwood Jr. New Year’s Eve is a very bad night for Jimmy Zoole (Steve Guttenberg); his girlfriend Kate (Cynthia Watros) is leaving him, he catches a guy robbing his apartment for the third time and his cat has died.

Cat Credits: The title cat is named Tennessee and while he does not appear in the film itself he is featured in the opening credits.  The orange and white cat is seen playing on and around the various credits.

P.S. Your Cat is Dead! - cat over Mr. Kirby Productions

P.S. Your Cat is Dead! - cat in corner of black screen

P.S. Your Cat is Dead! - cat with executive producers credit

The cat’s photos are also featured during the opening credits.

P.S. Your Cat is Dead! - cat over title credits

P.S. Your Cat is Dead! - cat over costume designer credit

Tennessee’s picture is also seen as Eddie is robbing Jimmy’s apartment.  It is explained that Tennessee is in the local cat hospital with a bladder infection.  Tennessee’s fate should be obvious from the title.

P.S. Your Cat is Dead! - framed photo of cat Tennessee

According to the DVD commentary by Steve Guttenberg, the cat in the opening credits was producer Kyle A. Clark’s mother’s cat.

P.S. Your Cat is Dead! - cat over director credit

Final Mewsings: Cats in credits should get credit!


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The Long Memory (1953)

The Long Memory DVD

J. Arthur Rank Organisation
Starring:
 John Mills, John Slater
Directed by: Robert Hamer

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

Synopsis: Phillip Davidson (John Mills) has spent 12 years in jail for a murder he did not commit and struggles between his desire for revenge and his chance for love and redemption.

Purr Blurs: In order to clear his name and seek revenge on those who wronged him, Phillip seeks out an ex-boxer named Pewsey (John Slater), one of the men who testified against him.  Pewsey has left his wife (Thora Hird) and is living with another woman when Phillip comes searching for him.  Pewsey’s wife comes to call on Pewsey at his mistress’ home knowing he will be suffering from his annual cold.  The mistress yells at Pewsey to put the cat out but Pewsey’s wife argues that he’s sick and she’s just oiled his chest.  Pewsey finally agrees to put the cat out to keep them quiet and carries a black cat to the door.  As he opens the door to put the cat outside he sees Phillip waiting outside and panics, slamming the door shut.  The cat meows to come back inside but Pewsey bars the door, telling his mistress the cat can’t come back inside.

The Long Memory - black cat being carried to door by Pewsey John Slater

Phillip remains outside, standing across the street and waiting for Pewsey to emerge.  As he waits a cat walks by in front of him.  It is also a black cat but this cat has white paws and a white belly.  Possibly it’s supposed to be the same cat but they’re clearly two different cats.

The Long Memory - black and white cat walking in front of Phillip John Mills

Final Mewsings: Putting the cat out can be hazardous to your health.


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