Age 13 (1955)

Sid Davis Productions
 Michael Keslin
Directed by: Arthur Swerdloff

Synopsis: The story of Andrew (Michael Keslin), a 13 year old boy whose mother dies leaving him in the care of an indifferent stepfather.  Based on a case study, we see Andrew struggle as he tries to cope with the sudden changes and his anger towards those around him.

Featured Feline: This is one of those wonderfully weird educational films which are loaded with unintentional laughs.  This short, in particular, is simply bizarre in so many ways, but especially in the fact that Andrew’s stepfather is more interested in showing affection to his pet cat than to Andrew, even taking the cat to his wife’s funeral.

Age 13 - Cat at Funeral

This in itself is not a stretch to believe, but it’s the way it’s presented on screen that makes it odd.  The orange cat belonging to the stepfather is usually shown on screen with a soundtrack of a screeching cat dubbed over it, giving the impression the cat is angry, vicious or just as crazy as the stepdad (to be honest, it’s no worse than the dubbing of Andrew’s voice which makes him sound like a five year old.)  Andrew’s first instance of acting out is to take the cat from the stepdad.  But instead of taking it outside and killing it, as one would imagine would happen, he takes it to the railroad station and closes it inside a freight train car, with a bowl of milk yet!  It’s our opinion that Andrew was really doing the cat a favor.

Age 13 - Cat in Box Car

Kitty Cameos: Later Andrew’s stepfather has another cat (surprising he would trust Andrew around another one) and he and his new woman seem to take more than unusual pleasure in watching the cat high on catnip.  One has to wonder how much of the ‘nip the couple indulged in to make them both sit and laugh inanely at the cat rolling around on the floor.  Even stranger, this is planned entertainment, as the stepfather makes a point of asking his girlfriend if she remembered to bring the catnip!

Age 13 - Cat on catnip

In the final scene when Andrew moves in with his cousin’s family, the little girl is on the floor playing with an orange tabby kitten her father has just brought her.  Andrew pets the kitten and we are told he is well on the road to recovery.  And not a moment too soon for the kitten!

Age 13 - Kitten

Final Mewsings: When your stepdad is totally nuts you should consider his cat an ally, not an enemy!

Relevant Links:

IMDb logo  tcmlogo

Share this with your cat and movie loving friends!