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Kitten with a Whip (1964) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Jody, a juvenile delinquent, escapes from reform school by stabbing a matron and attempting to burn down the building and then takes refuge in a house owned by an ambitious politician David Patton. Despite the hellcat's ample charms, the would-be officeholder wants nothing to do with her and tries to drive her away. She responds by shortly returning to his house accompanied by a gang of delinquent pals and taking him hostage. A sudden act of violence causes more trouble, leading Jody and her gang to hijack David and force him to drive a getaway car to Mexico.

  • San Diego based David Stratton is seeking his party's nomination as state senator. His political life has taken a toll on his marriage, his wife Ginny who has left him - somewhat temporarily - with their infant daughter Kathy. They still love each other but she isn't sure she can handle being the wife of a senator, which in and of itself may be in jeopardy if she isn't at his side at pre-election functions. David awakens one morning to find a young woman asleep in Kathy's room, the woman who apparently had been there at least all night. She is seventeen year old runaway Jody Dvorak - also calling herself Jody Drew - who broke into the house since there was evidence the homeowners were away on vacation. As David learns she has an abusive home life, he wants to help her with her immediate goal of getting to Los Angeles to stay with a sympathetic aunt. He purchases her new clothes and believes he has placed her on a bus with some extra pocket money. But as he returns home later that evening, he finds that Jody has returned and has no intention of leaving... yet. By that time, David has learned from television news that she really is an escapee of juvenile detention, which she achieved by critically stabbing one of the facility's matrons. David can't telephone the police as Jody threatens to figuratively yell rape, which would ruin his political career. As Jody calls in three criminal friends - the violent Buck, the menacingly controlled Ron, and the subservient Midge - for support, David, while being held captive by them in his own home, further learns that their plan is ultimately for him to assist them in crossing the border into Mexico to escape capture. David has to figure out how to get rid of the four fugitives, while saving his political career and his marriage.

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  • After stabbing the matron, the seventeen year-old delinquent Jody Dvorak escapes from a juvenile detention facility. She breaks in an empty house and sleeps in a bed. Late night, the prominent politician and future senator David Stratton comes home after a business meeting with his friend Grant and wife. In the morning, he sees Jody and she tells a dramatic story of her life to him. David decides to help the young woman and goes to the town to buy clothes for her. Then he drives her to the bus station and gives some money to her. He meets Grant in a restaurant and when David is going to tell what happened to him, he sees Jody in the television and gives up. When David returns home, he finds Jody there. He picks up the phone to call the police and Jody threatens to accuse him of rape. Then three delinquents - the smart Ron; the violent Buck; and Midge - come to David's house and afraid of a scandal, he becomes hostage of the situation. When Buck and Ron have an argument, Buck accidentally hurts Ron with a razor blade and Midge flees in their car. Now the delinquents want David to drive them to Tijuana to escape from the police. What will David do?

  • A rising political star faces scandal and blackmail when the young woman he tries to help turns out to be a juvenile delinquent.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • ** CONTAINS SPOILERS

    JODY DVORAK, 17, escapes from a juvenile facility after knifing a MATRON. Hopping a freight, pursued by COPS, Jody gets away. Desperate, she stumbles upon the lavish home of DAVID STRATTON, a senator wannabe, off on a business trip and whose wife, VIRGINIA, is currently away with their child, rethinking their marriage.

    When Jody spots the newspapers on David's lawn, she knows he's away, and she breaks in, snuggling her way into the bed of David's little girl. That night, David returns home with GRANT, one of his wealthy supporters. As they discuss campaign strategy, David doesn't realize yet that Jody's asleep in the house.

    David gets up the next morning, attracted by a noise in the room when Jody upends a teddy bear. Angry, David picks up the phone to call the police, but Jody - a compulsive and convincing liar - concocts a story of sexual abuse at the hands of a stepfather. David feels sorry for her, electing not to call the cops, since to do so would mean sending her back to an abusive situation.

    Instead, David takes her out to buy some new clothes, then drops her off at a bus depot. Meeting with Grant later in a bar, David's about to tell him his adventure when he sees Jody's photo on t.v., realizing that she's a dangerous fugitive. When David gets home, he's shocked to find that Jody has returned. He picks up the phone to call the cops again, but this time Jody extorts him with threats of non-existent statutory rape, just exactly what the senatorial hopeful doesn't need.

    David agrees to let her stay until evening. Meanwhile, he must fend off Grant, who shows up with his nosy wife, VERA. David begs off with a headache. When night falls, Jody reneges on her promise to leave. Further, she's invited some "teenage" pals over, including RON, BUCK and MIDGE.

    David lets them in reluctantly, hoping they'll party for a while and leave. The more dangerous of the trio, Buck, gets his hands on David's straight razor, and he soon wounds Ron. They know they'll have to get him to a doctor.

    They head off in David's big car, soon crossing the border into Tijuana. They manage to lose Buck, then dump Ron off at a doctor's. David takes Jody to a motel. Jody swipes his car keys, saying she'll bow out of his life, but she needs a bottle of booze. David goes off to buy it for her, running into Ron, whose wound has been stitched. He's out to get Jody. David also runs into Grant, Vera and some influential political BACKERS, forced to do some fast talking. He calls some COPS on Ron.

    David heads back to the motel, where, surprisingly, Jody returns his keys. But Buck and Ron show up, determined to get revenge on Jody. As Buck starts to beat her up, David intercedes, but soon Buck's beating him up. Jody hits Buck over the head with the liquor bottle, then holds the shattered bottle at Ron's throat. David and Jody take off in his car, hoping to get David to the hospital from his beating.

    Buck and Ron pursue, a chase follows, the cars soon careening off a mountain. David awakes in a San Diego hospital, informed by a STATE TROOPER that Jody blamed herself for everything. David's in the clear. Unfortunately, Jody - along with Buck and Ron - are also dead of their injuries. Meanwhile, David's wife Virginia is waiting to see him, and David, having learned a mightily important lesson, agrees to see her, hopefully to re-ignite the struggling spark of their marriage.

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