6.7/10
1,129
24 user 12 critic

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)
Learn more

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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] See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The novel upon which this film is based was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post from 26 August to 30 September 1933. Harold Lloyd paid $25,000 ($488,000 in 2018) for the rights to the story. See more »

Quotes

Pat Pratt: Well, Mr. Mayor!
Ezekiel Cobb: Good evening, Miss Pratt. Isn't this terrible!
Pat Pratt: What?
Ezekiel Cobb: What? I've got to be mayor!
Pat Pratt: Oh, well its all a circus anyway. And every circus must have its clown.
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 »

User Reviews

 
The Wisdom Of Lin Po
9 May 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

For those of you looking for the crazy stunts that typified a Harold Lloyd silent comedy, this is not the film for you. What The Cat's-Paw gives us is an interesting and atypical character for Lloyd who was trying to establish himself in sound.

For me the closest movie comparison to Lloyd's character is that of Peter Sellers in Being There. For all the education that Lloyd has received in dealing with the world, he might as well have been brought up in isolation as Sellers was.

But where he was brought up was as a missionary's child in China and I don't know how much Christianity he and his family were able to teach the Chinese, but young Harold has learned the wisdom of Chinese philosopher Lin Po whom he quotes constantly like a fortune cookie aphorism. As it turns out Lin Po turns out to be one wise dude.

Anyway Lloyd's father Samuel S. Hinds has decided his son needs some education in the modern world of 20th century America and he sends him back to be the guest of the pastor of the home church which sponsors the mission. The pastor there is the perennial candidate of the 'reform' movement of that town of Stockport. But no sooner does Lloyd arrive and the pastor dies.

Now the reform movement is a sham and the pastor a patsy of the political bosses who need a straw-man opponent in every election. They decide Lloyd just might be a better patsy than the guy who just died.

Of course as it goes in these type of films the patsy proves to be not so easy a proposition. In fact Lloyd constantly quoting from Lin Po, the way Charlie Chan used to dispense wisdom proves quite the adversary for the crooks who run Stockport. In addition Lloyd gains the admiration of Una Merkel, as cynical a dame as Jean Arthur was in Mr. Deeds and Mr. Smith.

The Cat's-Paw is still a nice political satire though it did not establish Harold Lloyd as big a comedy name as he was in silent films. A nice cast of players was selected by director Sam Taylor topped by George Barbier who plays a political boss who discovers Lloyd and actually proves to have a streak of honesty in him.


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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)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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