Monthly Archives: November 2017

Silent Sunday bannerStachka (1925)

Strike poster

English Title: Strike
Goskino
Starring:
 Maksim Shtraukh, Grigoriy Aleksandrov
Directed by: Sergei M. Eisenstein

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

Synopsis: Factory workers on strike in pre-Revolutionary Russia are persecuted by their former bosses, the police and even the military.

Kitty Cameos: Several cats are seen throughout this film, the debut work of director Eisenstein. The first day of the workers’ strike shows the men at home. A couple of kittens are seen outside during this scene.

Strike - multicolored kitten

Strike - multicolored kitten

Strike - kittens playing animated gif

Strike - kitten beside boy

Strike - kitten walking away from boy

Strike - kitten sitting some distance from boy

The factory offices are empty and a black cat is seen walking down the hallway scattered with litter and effects.

Strike - black cat walking down abandoned hallway

Strike - black cat walking down abandoned hallway animated gif

Kitty Carnage Warning!  Things get darker as the strike drags on and the workers and their families suffer. A woman is seen screaming at her husband who is lying in bed. A tabby kitten is nearby pawing at a fish on the ground. The woman picks up a shoe and throws it, hitting the kitten and sending it sprawling. This was done for real.

Strike - tabby kitten with fish by doorway

Strike - tabby kitten after being hit by shoe

The woman then storms out of the apartment and slightly kicks the kitten on her way out. The kitten then carries part of the fish in its mouth away from the doorway.

Strike - tabby kitten being hit as woman walks through doorway

Strike - tabby kitten carrying piece of fish away from doorway

Severe Kitty Carnage Warning! Still later several dead cats are seen hanging outside a junk yard, apparently to scare away anyone who might dare to intrude. These are also real cats.

Strike - dead cat seen hanging behind man

Near the end of the film the military is brought in to break up the crowd of workers. The soldiers pursue the workers to their apartments and start attacking them. Two little girls are seen sitting above the melee playing with three kittens.

Strike - two little girls playing with three kittens

Strike - two little girls playing with three kittens above soldiers attacking workers below

One of the kittens later jumps over the edge of the ledge where they are sitting but it is unclear if the kitten falls a long or short way down. We should warn you that there is other violence against animals in this movie, including the very graphic and real killing of a cow (used in a montage interspersed with the killing of the workers), not to mention the vile death of one of the little girls that was playing with the kittens, so sensitive viewers beware.

Strike - two little girls playing with three kittens as one kitten jumps off ledge

Final Mewsings: Animals, like workers, deserve to be treated fairly and humanely.


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Willard (2003)

Willard 2003 poster

New Line Cinema
Starring:
 Crispin Glover, Laura Harring
Directed by: Glen Morgan

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

Synopsis: In this remake of the 1971 film, reclusive and socially awkward Willard Stiles (Crispin Glover) befriends and trains an army of rats to do his twisted bidding.

Cat Burglar (Scene Stealer): In the original film Willard’s co-worker gave him an orange tabby cat named Chloe which he ultimately dropped off with a man in a phone booth. The cat is not as lucky in this version. Co-worker Catherine (Laura Harring) shows up on Willard’s doorstep bearing the cat as a gift. “Her name is Scully,” Catherine explains.

Willard 2003 - Catherine Laura Harring brings orange tabby cat Scully to Willard Crispin Glover

Willard politely tries to decline taking the cat, who is pawing at the white rat Socrates in his pocket, but Catherine is persistant. Having to leave, Willard asks is he can simply put Scully inside the house. Catherine says it is fine, the cat is potty trained.

Willard 2003 - close up of orange tabby cat Scully

Scully is dropped inside the front door and immediately knows she’s in trouble, as she’s surrounded by countless rats.

Willard 2003 - orange tabby cat Scully surrounding by rats inside front door

The cat runs into another room and jumps up on a chair, hitting the button on a remote which starts playing an easy listening cable music channel on the television. Ironically, the song that starts playing is Ben by Michael Jackson.

Willard 2003 - orange tabby cat Scully on chair with remote

The song continues to play throughout the following scenes as Scully jumps to the top of a cabinet to escape the army of rats.

Willard 2003 - orange tabby cat Scully on top of cabinet

Willard 2003 - orange tabby cat Scully on top of cabinet

The rats chew away at the feet of the cabinet and finally bring it down. Scully runs away, looking for a way out of the house.

Willard 2003 - orange tabby cat Scully on top of cabinet

Darting into the basement, Scully is followed by the rats. She walks along some high piping and finally spots a small hole in a vent within jumping distance. The rats are growing in numbers below.

Willard 2003 - orange tabby cat Scully in basement being chased by rats

Willard 2003 - orange tabby cat Scully walking between pipe and ceiling

Willard 2003 - orange tabby cat Scully looking down at rats

Willard 2003 - orange tabby cat Scully looking for escape

Kitty Carnage Warning! Scully finally makes a jump at the hole but Ben is inside waiting and lunges at her. She clings to the vent for a short time as Ben bites her.

Willard 2003 - orange tabby cat Scully outside vent grating

Willard 2003 - orange tabby cat Scully hanging above rats

Willard 2003 - rat Ben looking at orange tabby cat Scully outside vent grating

Finally she drops down into the sea of rats and disappears.

Willard 2003 - orange tabby cat Scully falling into sea of rats

Missing scenes on the DVD show how Willard actually called for Scully several times after this, finally discovering her dead body in a hallway.

Willard 2003 - orange tabby cat Scully close

Reportedly three cat actors from Boone’s Animals for Hollywood worked on the film. The director explained that one of the cats had to be replaced because it kept eyeing one of the rats and they didn’t want a mishap to occur. For the most part the cat actors and rat actors were filmed in separate takes and put together via special effects in post production.

Willard 2003 - orange tabby cat Scully

It’s also been speculated that the cat was named Scully because director Glen Morgan and producer James Wong had worked on the X-Files for many years. They explained in the DVD commentary track that it wasn’t a dig at the series, they just thought that was the type of name the character Catherine would give the cat.

Willard 2003 - close up of orange tabby cat Scully

Final Mewsings: We’ll never hear the song Ben the same way again!


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Ben (1972)

Ben poster

Bing Crosby Productions
Starring:
 Lee Montgomery, Joseph Campanella
Directed by: Chris Noonan

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

Synopsis: The sequel to Willard. Ben and his rat friends find themselves outcasts and so he befriends a lonely boy (Lee Montgomery) but it’s destined to be a doomed friendship.

Kitty Cameo: In the beginning of the film the police have cordoned off Willard’s home. Two policemen are left to patrol outside. Ben watches as one of them walks the perimeter and hears a noise. It turns out to be a black cat in the bushes.

Ben - police officer with black cat

The officer sets the cat down and it scratches at a door, wanting to get into the house. When the officer opens the door the cat runs inside and starts scratching at a crack between boards on a wall. Behind the wall are countless rats.

Ben - black cat running into house

Ben - black cat sniffing at crack in wall

Ben - policeman watched black cat sniffing at crack in wall

The cat suddenly screeches and runs away. The officer is not as smart.

Ben - black cat moving away from crack in wall

Final Mewsings: Cats know when it’s time to get going!


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Willard (1971)

Willard poster

Bing Crosby Productions
Starring:
 Bruce Davison, Sondra Locke
Directed by: Daniel Mann

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

Synopsis: Socially awkward Willard Stiles (Bruce Davison) befriends and trains an ever-growing army of rats which he ultimately uses against his enemies.

Cat Burglar (Scene Stealer): One of the only people Willard likes is a co-worker named Joan (Sondra Locke). One day she takes him out to his car to give him a surprise. He is indeed surprised when he sees an adorable little orange tabby cat on a leash in his back seat.

Willard - orange tabby cat Chloe in back seat of car

Willard - orange tabby cat Chloe in back seat of car

Joan explains that the cat’s name is Chloe and she bought her from a pet shop for Willard so he wouldn’t be lonely. The look on Willard’s face says it all.

Willard - Joan Sandra Locke holding orange tabby cat Chloe with Willard Bruce Davison

Willard - Joan Sandra Locke holding orange tabby cat Chloe with Willard Bruce Davison

Willard - Joan Sandra Locke holding orange tabby cat Chloe with Willard Bruce Davison

Joan suggests dropping Chloe off at Willard’s house. As they are driving there, Chloe starts clawing at Willard’s briefcase in the back seat. Willard’s rats, Socrates and Ben, are inside the briefcase.

Willard - orange tabby cat Chloe clawing at briefcase in back seat of car

Willard - orange tabby cat Chloe clawing at briefcase in back seat of car

Willard - orange tabby cat Chloe clawing at briefcase in back seat of car

Willard - orange tabby cat Chloe clawing at briefcase in back seat of car

When they reach Willard’s house he finds a notice on the door saying his house is going to be sold to pay owed taxes. He is reading the notice and absent-mindedly hands his briefcase to Joan, who is holding Chloe. When the cat meows Willard remembers and quickly takes the briefcase back.

Willard - Joan Sandra Locke holding orange tabby cat Chloe

Willard - Joan Sandra Locke holding orange tabby cat Chloe with Willard Bruce Davison

Willard - Joan Sandra Locke holding orange tabby cat Chloe with Willard Bruce Davison

Willard drives Joan to her home with Chloe in the backseat still nosing the briefcase.

Willard - orange tabby cat Chloe nosing briefcase in back seat of car

Willard drops Joan off and she reminds him to take good care of Chloe. Willard is looking at the cat clawing at the briefcase and assures Joan, “Oh, I’ll take care of her all right.”

Willard - Joan Sandra Locke holding orange tabby cat Chloe with Willard Bruce Davison

Willard - Joan Sandra Locke holding orange tabby cat Chloe with Willard Bruce Davison

Willard - orange tabby cat Chloe nosing briefcase in back seat of car

In the next scene Willard drives up to a phone booth where a man is talking on the phone. Willard hands Chloe to the man and says, “Do you mind holding this for a minute?” He then drives away, leaving the confused man holding Chloe.

Willard - man in phone booth holding orange tabby cat Chloe

Willard - man in phone booth holding orange tabby cat Chloe

Final Mewsings: This is one cat who was lucky to be abandoned!


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Children of the Damned (1964)

Children of the Damned poster

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British Studios
Starring:
 Clive Powell, Mahdu Mathen
Directed by: Anton M. Leader

Synopsis: Supposed sequel to Village of the Damned in which six children from different countries make world leaders nervous with their awesome abilities.

Purr Blur: In one scene the British boy, Paul (Clive Powell) goes to the Indian embassy and waits for a fellow child, Rashid (Mahdu Mathen), to join him. Rashid is seen walking through the kitchen where a cat is sitting on a table.

Children of the Damned - cat on table watching boy Rashid Mahdu Mathen

Children of the Damned - cat on table watching boy Rashid Mahdu Mathen

The cat looks nervous as the boy approaches and watches him pass from behind a tall teapot.

Children of the Damned - cat on table watching boy Rashid Mahdu Mathen

Children of the Damned - cat on table watching boy Rashid Mahdu Mathen

Final Mewsings: Cats don’t like damned children.


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