6.9/10
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The Cat's-Paw (1934)

Not Rated | | Comedy | 7 August 1934 (USA)
A naive missionary brought up 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.

Directors:

Sam Taylor, Harold Lloyd (uncredited)

Writers:

Clarence Budington Kelland (story), Sam Taylor (screen play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Harold Lloyd ... Ezekiel Cobb
Una Merkel ... Pet Pratt
George Barbier ... Jake Mayo
Nat Pendleton ... Strozzi
Grace Bradley ... Dolores Doce
Alan Dinehart ... Mayor Ed Morgan
Grant Mitchell ... 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 James Donlan ... Red - the Reporter
Edwin Maxwell ... District Attorney Neal
Frank Sheridan ... Dan Moriarity - Police Commissioner
Fuzzy Knight ... Stuttering Gangster
Vince Barnett ... Wilks - a Gangster (as Vincent Barnett)
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Storyline

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 <alagain@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Everything new but these [eyeglasses]

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Cantonese | German

Release Date:

7 August 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cat's Paw See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$617,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$693,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Jake Mayo: Where you from, son?
Ezekiel Cobb: China.
Jake Mayo: China? You mean where them laundry men come from?
See more »

Soundtracks

The Stars and Stripes Forever
(1896) (uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played at the Good Government League meeting at the City Club
See more »

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User Reviews

Enjoyable Satirical Comedy
13 March 2006 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

This generally enjoyable comedy is unusually satirical for a Harold Lloyd feature, but as long as you don't take it too seriously, it has some very amusing moments. Lloyd's character lets him combine elements of his familiar silent-screen roles plus dialogue and other material that take advantage of the relatively new sound technology. Una Merkel also helps out as a sarcastic young woman who takes an interest in Lloyd's character.

The prologue is a little lengthy, but it works in establishing a positive view of the Chinese culture in which Lloyd's character was raised and which determines his personality, so it serves a purpose. The main part of the movie has Lloyd as Ezekiel, a missionary's son, coming back to the USA and innocently contending against the rampant corruption in the local government and the distorted values of society. Much of it is amusing in a low-key fashion, but eventually it also builds up the tension between Ezekiel and the local political machine.

You always hope for something big in the finale in a Lloyd movie. Here the finale is creative, taking advantage of the possibilities in the story, and making use of sound in addition to the many visual effects. Though slower and not filled with slapstick the way that his great silent film finales were, it caps things off suitably enough.

Like most of Lloyd's sound features, this one doesn't come up to the level of his silent classics. But it does give him a good character to work with, and it is often rather funny as long as you don't read too much into the story and characters.


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