- Entertainment and Media
Three Best Cat Movies
Top Choices of Cats in Film
I'm an avid watcher of Cat Movies
Many hours of mine have been spent watching the flickering screen in the hope of catching a worthwhile production which showcases The Cat in an accurate light. So when I find a film with a cat of star quality, a good performance in a good vehicle, the search has been worth it.
Here are my Three Top Choices for the Best Cat Movies
Fabulous, Family Friendly 'Rhubarb'
Orangey gets his first part
No fewer than fourteen felines were used to make the film, Rhubarb, and all of these understudy cats played their parts superbly. The most outstanding performance was from the young cat, Orangey, who was catapulted to fame 10 years later for his performance in Breakfast at Tiffany's as 'Cat'.
An eccentric millionaire bequeaths his fortune - and his baseball team - to his pugnacious pet cat. The court scene is particularly enjoyable, a sanity hearing brought about by the millionaire's disgruntled relatives to prove that the cat is mentally unfit to control the old man's money.
Rhubarb is a charming family comedy which goes down well with humans. A little light romance as publicist Ray Milland tries to convince the players (one of whom is Leonard Nimoy) that Rhubarb is the key to their success, while at the same time evading gangsters and avoiding the wrath of his allergic-to-cats fiancé, Jan Sterling.
Thanks to Rhubarb's inspiration, the team makes it to the Pennant Race, whereupon the plot really thickens. Crooked gamblers kidnap the cat to prevent a Brooklyn pennant win.
Get your own copy of Rhubarb - A Cat Classic
Don't get all mushy about an eccentric old man's love of an initially unlovable stray cat, forget the human players, concentrate instead on the skills of Orangey, feline actor par excellence!
Orangey - Professional Acting Cat
Orangey was a talented cat actor who lived with cinematic animal handler Frank Inn.
Orangey (credited under various names), had a prolific career in film and television in the 1950s and early 1960s and was the only cat to win two Patsy Awards (Picture Animal Top Star of the Year, an animal actor's version of an Oscar) .
His first Patsy was for the title role in Rhubarb (1951), and the second was for his portrayal of "Cat", Audrey Hepburn's "poor slob without a name" in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961). Orangey is pictured here with co-star Hepburn.
Other films in which Orangey appeared over his 15 year career include The Incredible Shrinking Man(1957), Gigot (1962), and Village of the Giants (1965). His longest gig was a recurring role as Minerva the Cat in the television series Our Miss Brooks (1952-1958).
Orangey in his prime
Orangey appears in the first 4 minutes of this opening scene from Gigot. You see him appear as the video reaches 1.03 minutes.
His relaxed, natural attitude to the camera is evident. What an actor!
Jackie Gleason plays a supporting role in this scene
Bell, Book and Candle
A Cat Familiar
Pyewacket, the Witch's Cat
Greenwich Village witch Gillian (Kim Novak), admires her neighbor, Shep (James Stewart), who one day walks into her gallery of primitive art to use the telephone.
When she learns he is about to marry an old college enemy of hers, she takes revenge by casting a love spell on him, but begins falling for Shep herself. It's not clear why Gillian has to spend her time fooling around with adolescent love spells and playing rather silly games with practical magic but, if you suspend your belief in the sanity of witches, the twists and turns are comic enough.
Alas, Gillian must eventually make a stark choice, as witches who fall in love lose their supernatural powers. Gillian's cat and familiar, Pyewacket, becomes agitated and leaves her when she decides in Shep's favor.
The Bewitched television series
Bell Book and Candle , produced in 1951 has been compared (rather unfavourably I thought) with the 1942 fantasy , but the real spinoff from Bell, Book and Candle was the original 1960s television series Bewitched. I Married a Witch
This supernatural themed sitcom showed a witch, Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery), and her husband Darrin, played by Dick York, who recreates the same character as the one originally played by James Stewart.
A Siamese cat (name unknown) featured in early episodes of Bewitched where the couple attempted to lead a typical suburban life, and true love endured despite the mixed marriage's ongoing struggles with disapproving relatives, supernatural illnesses, nosy mortals, and Darrin's difficult boss.
If you get a chance to see any early episodes of Bewitched, keep an eye out for the marvelous laid-back role of the Cat.
Bewitched - Complete First Season
Bell Book and Candle
A lush vehicle for the talents of Pyewacket. The humans, James Stewart and Kim Novak put up a reasonable job, but are upstaged by Jack Lemmon and Hermione Gingold.
The cat, of course, unconsciously upstages everyone
That Darn Cat - Siamese Secret Agent
It takes a Siamese secret agent to unravel the PURR-fect crime!
That Darn Cat! is a dyed-in-the-wool family film from Walt Disney Productions featuring a story about bank robbers, a kidnapping and an important cat who holds the clue to the crimes.
A woman is kidnapped. While in captivity, she manages to send a message out by placing her wristwatch onto a wandering cat. The cat's housemate, a young woman with an active imagination contacts the FBI when she sees the watch, convinced it's the tip-off to crack a bank robbery and kidnapping case that has the authorities baffled. An allergic agent is assigned to tail the cat to find the hostage
The feline that plays the informant, as the FBI puts it, is superb. Clark Gable at the peak of his performance could not have played a better tom. This elegant cat is a paragon of suavity and grace, and he cracks the case by a whisker.
That Darn Cat!
The fur flies when a smart Siamese cat goes undercover and Hayley Mills and Dean Jones team up for mystery and adventure on Disney DVD.
When the irrepressible and always hungry D.C. (Darn Cat) turns up with a wristwatch for a collar, it becomes a tip-off to an unsolved robbery and kidnapping. You don't know who's tailing who as nosy neighbors, jealous boyfriends, and a highly allergic FBI agent play a game of cat and mouse to crack the baffling case.
I hope you keep an eye out for old movies on late at night, you never know when one of these classics may turn up. (Or buy your own classic to keep).
If you have your own special favourite film with a great cat part, please let me know.
What's your choice?
What's your best Cat movie?
Can you recommend another movie starring a cat? I need to expand my viewing.