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Michele Morgan's husband dies by gunshot, their paintings are stolen and Serge Reggiani is on the case
"Cat and Mouse" is a charming mystery story told in an unusual way and with an unusual detective. It's rather innovative in the way it tells the story. Fairly often it suddenly cuts to scenes at a different time and place or repeats a portion of a scene showing new details.
Michele Morgan and Jean-Pierre Aumont are well-off but their marriage has problems. He's playing with a young chick, not the first. Morgan is tempted to kill him, as we see in an early scene. Subsequently, Aumont does die by gunshot and their insured art collection is stolen. Morgan has all the motives for murder.
Serge Reggiani and partner Philippe Leotard are on the case. Reggiani is a rather loose man morally, with appetites to encourage this. He's not above taking a slice of counterfeit money for his own use, and giving Leotard a wad too. He plays around with a 20-something, his unmarried daughter's age. He strongly suspects Morgan, but he's falling for her and won't turn her in even if he can prove she did it. And he's trying. He's more interested in figuring out what really happened than in punishing her. Reggiani and Morgan play a cat and mouse game for a considerable portion of the film. It's handled in a light but engaging way with time allowed for rather amusing diversions and character quirks to be shown. Leotard, for example, gets involved with Reggiani's daughter, encouraged by Reggiani. There is a mystery whodunnit at the core of the plot, but without there being any rough, tough, villains around or even any very devious characters, except for the entrance at one point of a robber who is out for Morgan's insurance money. Both Reggiani and Morgan turn on the charm. Some scenes seem to have an improvised character in places, especially when Morgan goes into gales of laughter.
Reggiani's character finds out what he needs to know by using his trained Belgian shepherd dog to sink his teeth into the shirt of any reluctant witness and threaten that the arm will be next. That's enough to get most people to talk, thereby cutting down on the need to do police work.
Eventually, it's all sorted out, and having been amused and diverted by the fairly intricate and nonlinear ways in which all is made known to us, we have a fond memory and are ready to go on to another movie, thinking that maybe in the future we'll look again at this one.
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