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The Cat's-Paw (1934)

Approved  |   |  Comedy  |  7 August 1934 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 805 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 11 critic

Naive Ezekial Cobb, brought up by his missionary father in China returns to America to seek a wife. Corrupt politicians enlist him to run for mayor as a dummy candidate with no chance of ... See full summary »


, (uncredited)


(story), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Cat's-Paw (1934)

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Complete credited cast:
Una Merkel ...
George Barbier ...
Jake Mayo
Grace Bradley ...
Dolores Doce
Alan Dinehart ...
Mayor Ed Morgan
Silk Hat McGee
E. Alyn Warren ...
Tien Wang (as Fred Warren)
Warren Hymer ...
'Spike' Slattery
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
Shigley (as J. Farrell Macdonald)
James Donlan ...
Red - the Reporter
District Attorney Neal
Frank Sheridan ...
Dan Moriarity - Police Commissioner
Fuzzy Knight ...
Stuttering Gangster
Vince Barnett ...
Wilks - a Gangster (as Vincent Barnett)


Naive Ezekial Cobb, brought up by his missionary father in China returns to America to seek a wife. Corrupt politicians enlist him to run for mayor as a dummy candidate with no chance of winning. Their plan backfires as he wins and embarks upon a reform crusade. Written by Herman Seifer <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Everything new but these [eyeglasses]




Approved | See all certifications »




| |

Release Date:

7 August 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Strohmann  »

Box Office


$617,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The delay that followed Harold Lloyd's last picture Movie Crazy (1932) was partly due to the fact that he could find no suitable story. He bought The Cat's Paw when Author Clarence Budington Kelland had finished only the first chapter, offered suggestions to make the part more to his taste. When the story was finished Lloyd was amazed to find that none of the antics which his private staff of "gagmen" usually arrange for him seemed to fit the plot. He finally accepted the advice of his director, Sam Taylor, to make the picture without his customary comedy inventions. See more »


Strozzi: I got a message for you. Just two words.
Ezekiel Cobb: And they are?
Strozzi: Lay off!
Ezekiel Cobb: Lay where?
See more »


I'm Just That Way
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Akst
Lyrics by Roy Turk
Performed by Grace Bradley
See more »

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User Reviews

Fighting For Reform With Mr. Lloyd
13 March 2004 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

Returning from 20 years in China, a young missionary refuses to become THE CAT'S-PAW for a gang of hometown hoodlums.

This movie was a bit of a departure from Harold Lloyd's previous movies. Comedy derived more from dialogue, often rather serious, predominates here, rather than the elaborate sight gags which powered Harold's classics of the past. There are some splendid moments, however, which are pure visual fun, as when Harold attempts to follow a convertible down a crowded street, or when he desperately tries to keep a nightclub stripper from losing her clothes. There is also the climactic scene, set in a Chinatown basement, in which Harold gleefully jumps unabashedly into the darkest comedy. But most of the humor derives from Harold's refusal to be the patsy of the criminals who've run his hometown for years.

And it's quite a collection of crooked politicians & thugs Harold finds himself up against, played by a bevy of fine character actors: George Barbier, Nat Pendleton, Grant Mitchell, Edwin Maxwell, Alan Dinehart, Warren Hymer & stuttering Fuzzy Knight. Pert Una Merkel is on hand as the tobacco stand girl who catches Harold's eye and keeps him intrigued by her no-nonsense outlook on life.

Movie mavens will recognize Samuel S. Hinds as Harold's missionary father; Charles Sellon as an elderly Stockport clergyman; and Herman Bing as a German gangster--all uncredited. Also, showing up for only a few seconds as an attempted kidnapper, is Noah Young, a familiar face from Harold's silent films, here making his final appearance in a Lloyd picture.

Fox gave the film fine production values, especially in the opening scenes set in China.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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