In Frank Tuttle’s film of Graham Greene’s A Gun for Sale, Alan Ladd plays Philip Raven, a stone-cold contract killer with a weakness for kittens. He lets this one into his bedsit, pets it and gives it a saucer of milk.
A little later on, he and Veronica Lake (playing a nightclub chanteuse who has been spying on the bloke who set Ladd up) are in hiding with another kitten. KITTY SPOILERS after the picture!
Something very sad happens to this cat, making it a CATRIFICE.
The first kitten features in Greene’s book, but his description of it is strange and imprecise; one might think he had never even seen or heard a cat. And how many people call them “bitches”? Most odd.
The kitten came him, making little rushes along the pipe, feinting at his hand. ‘You little bitch,’ he said, ‘you little bitch.’ He took a small twopenny carton of cream out of his overcoat pocket and spilt it in his soap-dish. She stopped playing and rushed at him with a tiny cry. He picked her up by the scruff and put her on top of his chest of drawers with the cream. She wriggled from his hand, she was no larger than the rat he’d trained in the home, but softer. He scratched her behind the ear and she struck back at him in a preoccupied way. Her tongue quivered on the surface of the milk.
Of course, there’s an even more famous Graham Greene cat in an even more celebrated Graham Greene film, the feline aspects of which I examine in depth here.