More Cat/egories…

Harry & Tonto

My last post was spurred on (emphasis on “purr”) by the poster for Inside Llewyn Davis. The protagonist of that film at one point passes by a poster for The Incredible Journey (Fletcher Markle, 1963), which is a Disney movie about two dogs and one cat going trying to find their way home. The name for the cat that Llewyn Davis chases throughout the film is Ulysses, which was actually played by three tabbies – neither of which gets a credit in the film. (Sacrilege! Someone call P.E.T.A.) Whether the movie viewers then choose to consult Joyce or Homer for further inside references is a matter of taste. For me, because the story concerns a man who is ejected from his NYC environment who goes off on a series of adventures, which include alienating his family (and later getting back together with family), all while having some adventures on the road with a cat, I couldn’t help but think of Harry & Tonto (Paul Mazursky, 1975) – a film that starred two tabbies in the starring role of Tonto. But, mainly, it made me think of cats and movie posters. So here, as promised, are more images of exactly that.

First off, let’s mention The Big Cat (Phil Karlson, 1949):

Big Cat

This is my not-so-subtle way of getting big cats out of the way. This is a cat post, after all, so even though cats are related to larger and regal jungle creatures, let’s keep it small. There’s no reason to populate this particular thread with posters for Life of Pi (Ang Li, 2012) or other such tigers and lions. But, oh, okay, here’s one for something that’s a bit off the beaten path for Tiger of Eschnapur (Fritz Lang, 1938):

tiger of eschnapur

And here are two different versions for Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938), which play on the idea of a domesticated big cat:

Bringing Up Baby

But let’s get back to actual cats, small cats, not big cats – although size is always a relative thing, as can be seen from these two versions from one of my favorite films of all time – The Incredible Shrinking Man (Jack Arnold, 1957):

Incredible Shrinking Man

Next up: take your pick between these two versions of The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972), with or without puppet strings the cat makes the poster:

Godfather posters

If you think that cat’s being coddled, here’s one for you Ray Milland fans for Rhubarb (Arthur Lubin, 1951):


Speaking of Ray Milland, here’s one for The Uncanny (Denis Heroux, 1977), which I’d normally shuffle further down into the pending horror genre. It epitomizes what it means to have a bad cat day:


Okay, having kicked off this post mentioning Harry & Tonto (Paul Mazursky, 1974), I should include three for that one. That middle poster reminds people that Art Carney won an Oscar for his role as a widowed man in his seventies who hits the road to visit family and meet new friends along the way.

Harry & Tonto triptych

As can be seen from the triptych above (specifically the left one), the cat need not be large despite it’s role in the film. A perfect example of this would be in this 60th anniversary poster for The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949 – and with a hat-tip to Clemence Taillandier from Zeitgeist Films for bringing this movie poster to my attention). In The Third Man the cat plays a pivotal role in exposing the titular character, although he can barely be seen tugging on the pant leg of Orson Welles below:



What about “indie” films? Here are two that come to mind. To start out with something relatively recent, here’s a flier that I saw posted around Sundance during the time of it’s first release for Goliath (Zellner Bros., 2008):


Next up, we go back in time for Rubin & Ed (Trent Harris, 1991), which – technically – has the (dead) cat in the cooler, but it does insert cat silhouettes atop the credits:


Rubin & Ed is the film that got Crispin Glover in trouble with David Letterman when he showed up in character as Rubin and did an impromptu karate kick in high heeled shoes that made Letterman nervous. You can see a clip of that here (he’s brought on for River’s Edge, but is in character for Rubin & Ed… don’t ask, Crispin Glover’s brain works in mysterious ways):

Personally, I’m a huge fan of Rubin & Ed because it’s (a great movie! And, also…) about a guy who is so attached to his cat that he really needs to find a special place to bury the body. Does that sound familiar? For those who like horror films it should, because that’s the premise behind Pet Sematary (Mary Lambert, 1989). For comparison’s sake, here are the release covers for the book, DVD, and VHS (file the cat under “diminishing results”):

Pet Sematary

Speaking of Stephen King, here are two very different versions of Cat’s Eye (Lewis Teage, 1985), and while I like James Woods, I must admit that the minimalist design by Nicholas Tassone is quite striking:

cats eye

For an obvious title, suggested by many others in my last post, we have The Black Cat (Edgar Ulmer, 1934) starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Many great versions abound, but here are three favorites, although the last one gets points against it for misspelling Poe’s middle name – c’mon, it’s “Allan,” not “Allen.” Sheesh:

 Black Cat

The Black Cat was also directed by Harold Hoffman in 1966, and this particular poster brings something extra gritty to the table:


Lucio Fulci also released a version of The Black Cat later in 1981:


Speaking of Fulci, let’s not forget his A Cat in the Brain (1990):


And, of course, we’ve got to talk about those pesky cat fanciers and their curses, starting with Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942) and The Curse of the Cat People (Gunther von Fritsch, Robert Wise, 1944):

Cat Peeps

Here’s another one for The Curse of the Cat People:


Although the cat people flirt perilously close with that other category of Big Cats, rather than cats-cats, we’ll give ‘em a pass. As we will The Cat Girl (1957), directed by Alfred Shaushnessy (chief writer for Upstairs Downstairs), or Peter Hennessy (depending on which version of the poster you pick):

Cat Girl

And while we’re talking about whether it’s a cat or a woman, this poster for Tomb of Ligeia (Roger Corman, 1964) dares to ask other questions:


Black cats have a lot of currency in the horror genre, as can be seen many years later still with The Cat o’ Nine Tails (Dario Argento, 1971):


Did you know that there might also be some zombie cats out there? Hope springs eternal, but although I found the poster for it, I can’t find this one on IMDB so suspect someone is just having fun here:

rise-of-the-zombie-cats-poster high rez

But don’t worry, I didn’t forget about a great film out there with one very memorable zombie-cat sequence. Although, I will admit, this one required finding a custom poster that had the good sense to include the undead cat that launches around attacking college students in Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator (1985) – seen here in the lower left corner:

Drive in Reanimator

Clearly, cats get a lot of traction in the horror genre. Interestingly enough, elsewhere they merely get lip-service. Here are some examples of film posters that are sadly lacking in the cat department, despite putting the word “CAT” right up there in big letters:

253966-science-fiction-cat-women-of-the-moon-posterCat on a hot tin roofCat_BallouFaster Pussy Cat Kill KillTrack of the Cat

Surely there are many more out there that I’ve forgotten. Here’s one that comes to mind that should have been in the last blog post for Black Cat, White Cat (Emir Kusturica, 1998), which should have been filed under foreign films:

black cat, white cat

As I start to second guess myself, I have to ask myself: Why? Why did I pick such an infernally, potentially eternally ongoing subject? Anyone knows that if you combine both the internet and cats you’re liable to feel as overwhelmed as Spock in an elevator full of tribbles. It’s insane to even begin such an undertaking. So… how? How? How did his happen?

Screen shot 2013-11-26 at 2.33.44 PM

Okay, fine, but I can’t, in good conscience, finish this post without a picture of one of my favorite filmmakers and cat-lovers: Chris Marker, pictured here “with my beloved cat and collaborator Guillaume-en-Egypte.”


Having mentioned Spock, here is a quick pastiche of other familiar faces with cats:

Celebrities w cats


This madness must all end, of course, with something totally catty-wompus. Quick: to the internets! Random Google search using “cat” and “film” – what have ye? Oh, God… there is so much… far too much… but here’s one I can’t resist:


For those who know I’ve only scratched the surface and would like to see felines in a variety of evocative images that are not confined to movie posters, here’s one of many starting points:

If you want to play with cats forever and ever, you’ll wind up a permanent guest at the Overlook Hotel:

To bring everything full circle, below is a link to an interview with the cat trainer who worked on Inside Llewyn Davis. Llewyn Davis himself is not a very likeable character (as one friend put it: “Inside Llewyn Davis?! I couldn’t even stand being outside Llewyn Davis!”) So never mind Llewyn, here’s the inside scoop on Ulysses:

Having just heard that Peter O’Toole passed away, let’s part ways with this:

What's New Pussycat







29 Responses More Cat/egories…
Posted By John Mundt, Esq. : December 15, 2013 8:06 pm

OK, I’m sure you mentioned it, and I’ve just overlooked it somewhere, but my favorite cat-in-movie-poster is “Cat,” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Oh, to be wrapped around Audrey Hepburn’s neck…that is one lucky cat. The other movie-cat that springs to mind – if it counts at all – is the Liger from Napoleon Dynamite posters!

Posted By Pablo Kjolseth : December 15, 2013 8:14 pm

John – Breakfast at Tiffany’s was selected in my previous post, but I missed Napoleon Dynamite. Thanks for the tip!

Posted By Emgee : December 15, 2013 9:06 pm

A hearty Meeeauwww to you for these fabulous cat pics! Cat’s all , folks!

Posted By LD : December 15, 2013 11:44 pm

Not being a cat person, I thought this post would hold no interest for me. I realized when I started reading it that not only did I see most of the movies but several of them are in my library. I just didn’t perceive them as “cat” movies. Thank you for the different perspective.

May I recognize the passing of Peter O’Toole. A couple of days ago I watched THE LION (cat) in Winter. I count this among my Christmas movies. Why not? This is my favorite performance of his. Thank you, Mr. O’Toole, for what you have left us film.

Posted By LD : December 15, 2013 11:49 pm

Oops. I meant “on film” but it isn’t the first mistake I have made and won’t be the last.

Posted By DevlinCarnate : December 16, 2013 12:00 am

i discovered Peter O’Toole and his magnificent presence through What’s New Pussycat…some might consider it a lark after Lawrence of Arabia,but he always seemed to do the fun stuff after the serious roles…so as an aside,bottoms up and cheers Peter !

Posted By Doug : December 16, 2013 2:32 am

Back around Halloween time I ordered Neil Jordan’s “High Spirits” which starred O’Toole and Liam Neeson. It was ‘the cat’s meow’.
Cats are inherently evil in that all that they do is focused on their own comfort.
Dogs are man’s best friend because they would do ANYTHING to make Man happy.
Cats would sell a human baby to Aliens for a tin of tuna. Or just for their own amusement.

Posted By george : December 16, 2013 2:47 am

What a day. Not just O’Toole, but Joan Fontaine and Tom “Billy Jack” Laughlin have also died.

Posted By DBenson : December 16, 2013 3:24 am

Recently viewed “Three Lives of Thomasina”, which has a surprisingly dark streak for a Disney film about a girl and her cat. You sort of wonder what Val Lewton would have done with that story.

Posted By Emgee : December 16, 2013 12:02 pm

@Doug: How many people are harmed by (domestic) cats as compared to by dogs? I rest my case.
Dogs have owners, cats don’t.

Posted By Ghijath Naddaf : December 16, 2013 12:50 pm

But when will they stop, to feed cat´s with milk, in the movies.
They get diarrhea from milk.

Posted By Doug : December 16, 2013 4:45 pm

Emgee, I can’t tell if you are agreeing with me or not.
S’all right-I have to go down now and feed my two furry felines who
don’t demand much beyond total obedience concerning dinner times.

Posted By medusamorlock : December 16, 2013 5:17 pm

Great posters, and I always love when they show a slightly nuts looking cat with its mouth open, either as if it’s laughing or getting ready to kill.

The Godfather poster is unsettling to me, because you don’t really know whether he’s petting the cat or getting ready to snap its neck.

My best to all the real life and movie cats out there and those who love and cater to them!

Posted By robbushblog : December 16, 2013 5:18 pm

I have a family full of female feline favorers. They would appreciate this post greatly.

Posted By Pablo Kjolseth : December 16, 2013 6:23 pm

Posted By Pablo Kjolseth : December 16, 2013 6:38 pm

Having found out that we also lost Tom Laughlin AND Joan Fontaine, I did a cursory search for more cat-related film posters featuring those two. Slim pickings, so far, but here are two:

Posted By Emgee : December 16, 2013 8:44 pm

@ Doug, now i call that pussy whipped! :)

Posted By robbushblog : December 16, 2013 9:16 pm

Ann-Margret. Meow!

Posted By Emgee : December 16, 2013 9:23 pm

Don’t know how to post them, unfortunately……

Posted By Emgee : December 16, 2013 9:24 pm
Posted By swac44 : December 16, 2013 9:26 pm

My fave cat in films is probably Elliot Gould’s, who goes missing in The Long Goodbye. He features prominently on one of its posters (there were a few different designs, the cat shows up in at least two of them):

Posted By swac44 : December 16, 2013 9:26 pm
Posted By swac44 : December 16, 2013 9:27 pm

Hmm…my attempt to post fell flat, here’s the link:

Posted By Pablo Kjolseth : December 16, 2013 9:34 pm

A bunch of great additions! That LONG GOODBYE one cracks me up. Of course, as has already been made clear by the byline from The Onion regarding what kittens spend all their time thinking about, technically, both of Elliott Gould’s friends are murderers.

Posted By Doug : December 18, 2013 1:38 am

This seems pertinent:

scientific proof, confirming what I already suspected.
Cats would love on J Wayne Gacy if he brought them tuna.

Posted By Emgee : December 18, 2013 11:15 am

@Doug : Dogs would love one J Wayne Gacy if he took them walkies. Moral judgment is more of a human thing.

Posted By robbushblog : December 18, 2013 2:28 pm

Very true, Emgee. Hitler was a big animal lover. He had a load of dogs who loved him.

Posted By Gayle : December 19, 2013 5:59 pm

What a great feline homage! I learned about a few titles previously unknown.

I can’t resist adding Belle du Jour with Catherine Deneuve. You don’t see a cat but in some scenes where Deneuve’s character is in a sleigh you hear the ominous yowling of cats (or perhaps in heat?). My sister and I saw the reissue in the 1990s and her question on leaving the theater was, “What was with those cats?!”

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