Disney Live Action Spotlight: That Darn Cat

that_darn_cat_-_1965_poster

It’s week two of my Disney live action film spotlight. For this week’s film spotlight, I am embracing my inner cat lady. My pick is That Darn Cat from 1965. Forget the remake that came out in the 90s. The original is one of the most charming family films you’ll ever see.

Let’s cut straight to the chase. Here’s a rundown of the plot.

The Randall sisters, Patti (Hayley Mills) and Ingrid (Dorothy Provine), never have a dull moment, thanks to the antics of D.C., their trouble-making Siamese cat. When D.C. wanders into an apartment where bank teller Margaret Miller (Grayson Hall) is being held hostage, the clever captive writes “help” on her watchband and attaches it to the cat. Upon finding the message, Patti and Ingrid contact the FBI, and soon agent Zeke Kelso (Dean Jones) is there to investigate.–IMDB

That Darn Cat has a lot of great Disney ingredients. There’s the presence of Hayley Mills, star of many great Disney films, including The Parent Trap. Mills has such a great screen presence and a natural charm that she’s perfect for this kind of fun Disney fare. Mills is joined in the film by Dean Jones, another Disney movie regular. You may remember him from Herbie,the Love Bug and The Ugly Dachshund. Jones is a delight to watch on-screen. He has a lot of fun playing the FBI agent. There’s a lot of other great acting talent in this movie: Roddy McDowall, Elsa Lanchester, and Frank Gorshin are among the talented cast.

But as a lover of cats, my favorite character is the mischievous Siamese cat. The cat has all sorts of hilarious adventures as a sort of animal spy. The FBI puts a tracking device on the cat, in the hopes that he will lead them bank to the hideout of the bank robbers. Tracking the cat leads them through several backyards and a drive-in movie theater. The scene at the drive-in is just comic gold. If that doesn’t make you laugh I don’t know what will. Along with the fun of the caper plot, there are fun subplots. My favorite is Elsa Lanchester playing the nosy neighbor. There’s also Roddy McDowall’s romance with Hayley Mills’ sister. All of it works together and provides for great entertainment. Nothing feels forced in the story.

That Darn Cat isn’t just a mindless action movie. It has a lot of inventive slapstick humor and a very talented cast. It’s a fun caper movie that the whole family can enjoy. Hayley Mills does a terrific job in the lead part. She and the cat are just adorable together. And the cat is just a riot. The cat could have been a silent film star. The animal has a ton of personality. This is a breezy romp that is sure to please. See it if you haven’t already. If you have, watch it again. It’s enjoyable for viewers of all ages.

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