CAT OF THE DAY 037: THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE

CAT OF THE DAY 037: THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (1946)

(Note: Cora Smith and Frank Chambers are plotting to kill her husband Nick and make it look like an accident, but their first attempt is thwarted by a stray cat.)

Cop: “Well, ha ha ha, look at that!”

Frank: “What is it?”

Cop: “Well that doggone cat climbed up that stepladder… I like cats. Always up to something.”

(Note: The cat appears to have been placed upon the ladder by a member of the crew. It is moving neither up nor down.)

(Note: There is a flash and the cat jerks back in surprise, but appears unharmed. Nonetheless, an animal corpse is found the following day.)

Cop: “Cats are poor dumb things.”

Frank: “Yeah, they don’t know anything about electricity.”

Cop: “Killed her deader than a doornail.”

Suspicious lawyer: “Yes, the cat’s dead all right. Well, accidents can happen in the weirdest sort of ways. So long, laddy.”

Cop: “I never saw a prettier cat. Killed her deader than a doornail.”

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5 Responses to CAT OF THE DAY 037: THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE

  1. Lisa says:

    It looked to me that the cat was genuinely killed. I have been truly horrified by that image for years.

  2. AnneBillson says:

    I think the corpse is real. I like to think they found a ready-dead corpse, rather than killing one for the purposes of the film, if only because if had ever got out that Hollywood was killing cats, there would have been a public outcry. I like to think.

    • Lisa says:

      I hope so too, though I won’t watch it again to confirm. The corpse looked an awful lot like the original cat actor.
      The awful truth is that back then humane treatment of animals in film wasn’t an issue. In those days non-human animals were not treated humanely and there were no regulations prohibiting the killing of animals for films. There is that infamous 1930s film where they made a horse jump off a fake cliff to its death because the director wanted it to be real. I could give more examples, but I’d rather spare you what I think would be gratuitous imagery.
      The American Humane Association began monitoring films in 1940, so I emailed them to get an answer on this. If you like, I could let you know, or I could leave it as is.

      • AnneBillson says:

        No, I’d be interested. Do please let me know if you hear anything.

        Incidentally, have you read the book “Me Cheetah”? Purports to be an “autobiography” of the chimp that starred in the Tarzan movies, though is actually a very funny and very moving (and often quite scurrilous) story of Hollywood from the point of view of one of its animal actors.

        It’s a terrifically good read, and very well researched. I can’t recommend it enough, though it did make me cry quite a bit.

  3. Lisa says:

    They did get back to me and the woman who emailed said that they have no record of what happened to the kitty. She suggested I contact the distributor. I may do that when my paying job settles down. Thanks for the book recommendation! I’m going to check it out.

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