The Hoodlum (1919)

The Hoodlum DVD

Mary Pickford Company
 Mary Pickford, Ralph Lewis, Kenneth Harlan
Directed by: Sidney A. Franklin

Synopsis: A spoiled rich girl named Amy (Mary Pickford) defies her business tycoon grandfather to live with her sociology writer father in the slums of New York, not expecting the reality of the world she is about to enter.

Kitty Cameo: In the opening scenes, Alexander Guthrie (Ralph Lewis) is holding an important business meeting in his house.  Upstairs his granddaughter Amy is throwing a major fit.  She walks to her bed and kneels down, addressing someone named Omar and saying “Poor ‘ittle Omar!  Nobody ‘oves ‘ou but ou’s ‘ittle Muvver.”  Omar is a Maine Coon cat in a basket / cat bed with a small hot water bottle tied to his head and a baby’s bottle beside him filled with milk.

The Hoodlum - cat Omar in basket

When Guthrie refuses to leave his meeting to see Amy, she picks up Omar and storms downstairs, boldly barging into the meeting room.

The Hoodlum - cat Omar and Amy barge into meeting

Amy scolds her grandfather for not coming when she asked.  She explains that Omar had dreadful fits.  The scene fades to a flashback of what supposedly happened.

The Hoodlum - Amy confronts her grandfather with Omar in tow

Kitty Carnage Warning! During the flashback, Omar is seen convulsing wildly while Amy watches.  The troubling thing about this is the effect is achieved by having the cat actor attached to some kind of wire which jerks him up and down in the air while his body is twisting around.

The Hoodlum - cat Omar being jerked into the air by wire animated .gif

Amy peeks around the bed where Omar hisses at her (understandably so!)

The Hoodlum - cat Omar hisses

The cat is again jerked into the air and onto Amy’s bed where she attempts to catch him in a blanket.  She finally manages to cover the cat and then lifts the cover away to see he is now calm.

The Hoodlum - Amy lifts blanket to look at cat Omar

Omar the cat isn’t the only unfortunately animal attached to wires.  Later in the film some mice are subjected to similar treatment, although not as harshly.  To be fair Mary Pickford was herself attached to wires for some cartoonish stunts, but of course she knew what she was doing and she also wasn’t repeatedly jerked violently up into the air.

The Hoodlum - cat Omar lifted by Amy

Final Mewsings: Animals are not puppets!

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