6.3/10
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18 user 17 critic

The Shadow of the Cat (1961)

A house cat sees her mistress murdered by two servants under orders from her husband , and becomes ferociously bent on revenge.

Director:

John Gilling

Writer:

George Baxt
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Cast

Cast overview:
André Morell ... Walter Venable
Barbara Shelley ... Beth Venable
William Lucas ... Jacob Venable
Freda Jackson ... Clara, the Maid
Conrad Phillips ... Michael Latimer
Richard Warner ... Edgar Venable
Vanda Godsell ... Louise Venable
Alan Wheatley ... Inspector Rowles
Andrew Crawford Andrew Crawford ... Andrew, the Butler
Kynaston Reeves Kynaston Reeves ... The Grandfather
Catherine Lacey ... Ella Venable
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Storyline

A house cat sees her mistress murdered by two servants under orders from her husband , and becomes ferociously bent on revenge.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Was it supernatural force or psychotic compulsion . . . that drove five maddened murderers to destroy themselves ? See more »


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 June 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La sombra del gato See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BHP, Hammer Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cat's trainer is a man by the name of John Holmes. This must have been frustrating for the Svengoolie writing staff as the joke pretty much writes itself, yet they know the network would never allow it to air. See more »

Quotes

Beth Venable: You mean to tell me that an ordinary domestic cat is terrorizing three grown-ups?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Agency (1980) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Is it the Eyes or the Shadow...?
9 February 2015 | by krocheavSee all my reviews

This is such a curious work. Its producer Jon Pennington seemed to be attracted to unusual themes, the year before he made "Faces in the Dark" another story with a haunting ironic final outcome. He also seems to have been fond of working with the much exiled political activist and great Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis ~ an unusual choice for both movies. In fact if you took the exciting Theodorakis score out of 'Cat'...with it's eerie grinding base and shrill stings (perfectly bringing to mind the quick movements of a panicked cat) this film would lose much of it's considerable atmosphere. The pounding (near symphonic) main title, played over the image of an old dark country manor at the turn of the century sounds reminiscent of a ghostly steam locomotive, this makes the setting appear doubly creepy and hammers home the seriousness of the nasty crime that's just been committed.

People rave about the directorial touches but director John Gilling, while he does a most capable job, had such superb assistance from several important professionals...Veteran director of photography: Arthur Grant ('Quartermas and the Pit '67) works wonders with stark, super sharp B/W images in various difficult indoor situations as well as wide open spaces. The remarkable look of the indoor settings were stylishly created by two hard working gents, Art Director: Don Mingaye ('Phantom of the Opera' 61) and Production Designer: Bernard Robinson who, also in '61, is known for the super atmospheric 'Scream of Fear'. The editor: John Pomeroy (who has also been known to direct) cuts tricky scenes together with much flourish. Then there's veteran sound recordist: Ken Cameron capturing all the verbal dramatics and atmos. Writer, American born George Baxt weaves individual nuances into each of his greed driven characters - who just seem to keep coming out of the rotting woodwork. This is an A1 team at work behind the camera.

In retrospect, it might perhaps be a pity that director Gilling decided to change Baxt's original script, where the cat was intended to be seen only in 'shadow' (a form of psychological metaphor). Then again, others will argue there are some fine shots of this impressive feline used to good advantage, so maybe it's not easy to decide what may have been better (although I like Baxt's thoughts) Some Cat lovers will be delighted, others won't be overly impressed. Some won't buy the idea of a cat causing such panic, but this bunch of characters are murderers under close investigation, living on their guilt ridden nerves in an era where superstition was rife. They are also struggling with a haunted 'collective' conscience.

The entire cast are rather amazing at what they have to convey, such a gathering of stalwart British ensemble players. Any lesser performers may not have been convincing within some of the more difficult to grasp situations. It seems this was originally intended as a Hammer studios film but I've found some of the smaller Hammer productions can at times look a little cheap. The quality production values of this film suggest that Independent producer Jon Pennington may have invested his own larger budget for this odd little work. Two years ago my sister purchased a DVD of 'S.O.T.Cat' from a seller in the UK who claimed his was the only DVD available. It had annoying permanently 'burnt into the image' subtitles! At last we can now get this new Final Cut release DVD, that features one of the best 'Stills Gallery' extras I've ever seen --sections of the full original music score are synchronized to wonderfully edited images from the feature-- Congratulations Final Cut for this rare quality product. Look for it while you can! While it won't please everyone, those who view it as a product of it's day, and within the limits of it's well used budget, could be pleasantly surprised ... Anyone seen Tabitha? Purrrr....KenR.


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