The black cat in Saul Bass‘s credit sequence for Edward Dmytryk’s film is one of the most famous cats in the movies, and rightly so. The puss emerges from a pipe and stalks the block to Elmer Bernstein’s jazzy orchestral score before getting into a scrap with a white cat, which it trounces.
Between the opening and closing credits, there’s a preposterous miscast Depression-era melodrama starring Laurence Harvey as a Texan called “Dove Linkhorn” who tracks down his lost love (played by Capucine, whom Harvey declared was “like kissing the side of a beer bottle”) in a New Orleans bordello called The Doll House run by Barbara Stanwyck as a lesbian brothel madam whose husband has no legs. Jane Fonda plays an underage tart called “Kitty Twist”. Which, I think we all agree, is a splendid name.
But at the end of the film, the cat reappears – hurrah! – and walks over a discarded newspaper revealing the fates of the surviving characters before stalking off down the street again.