La nuit américaine (1973)

Day for Night DVD

English Title: Day for Night
Les Films du Carrosse
 François Truffaut, Bernard Menez, Nathalie Baye
Directed by: François Truffaut

Synopsis: Art imitates life as a director (played by director François Truffaut) struggles to make a movie despite time limitations, financial setbacks and drama amongst the cast and crew.

Cat Burglars (Scene Stealers): One segment in this hilarious look at filmmaking shows the film crew trying to shoot a scene where the principles are in a hotel bungalow and set a tray of food outside the door.  This is when a cat actor is supposed to come in and eat from the tray.  But as we all know, cat actors don’t always do what they’re supposed to do.  In this instance, the little gray kitten which property man Bernard (Bernard Menez) has provided just won’t enter the scene and hit its mark.

Day for Night - Bernard Menez aiming gray kitten

Day for Night - Bernard Menez pushing kitten animated gif

Bernard repeatedly tries to get the kitten to do what they want.

Day for Night - kitten running past tray animated gif

At one point Bernard even throws the kitten into the scene (how many times have we seen such “catapults” in movies?) but still the kitten won’t cooperate.

Day for Night - kitten pushed towards tray animated gif

The script girl, Joëlle (Nathalie Baye) finds the studio cat, a tabby which she is holding by the scruff.  They try the studio cat and although it takes a while to get to the milk on the tray it at least gives them the shot they need.

Day for Night - Joëlle Nathalie Baye holding up tabby cat

Day for Night - Bernard Menez aims tabby cat

This sequence was inspired by the director’s attempts to get this same shot for his film The Soft Skin.

Day for Night - cat eating from tray

Final Mewsings: You can lead a cat to a movie set but you can’t make him act.

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