CAT OF THE DAY 043: THE GETAWAY (1972 & 1994)

Treacherous bank robber Rudy is shot and left for dead by “Doc” McCoy, but has sneakily put on a bullet-proof vest and survives with a shoulder wound. He makes it to a veterinarian’s surgery, where he proceeds to get friendly with a kitten, and the veterinarian’s wife.

In Samuel Peckinpah’s 1992 film of Jim Thompson‘s hard-boiled pulp novel, Al Lettieri plays Rudy. In Roger Donaldson’s remake, it’s Michael Madsen. Lettieri is scarier, but Madsen has a strange Rita Hayworth hair-do and his kitten shows up better than Lettieri’s, which is black. When oh when will film-makers learn that black cats rarely show up well on screen?

Both kittens look content to be nestling cosily on the chest of a crazy killer, and their presence adds extra tension to the latter part of the story for the average cat-lover, who doesn’t really give a fig about what happens to Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw or Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, but who will be fretting lest Rudy mistreat the cat in a whimsical sociopathic fit of pique.

Fret ye not. Many, many people get beaten or shot or blasted during the final showdown, but as far as one can see, both kittens survive unharmed.

Al Lettieri: My kitten is better than your kitten.

Michael Madsen: No actually, mine is better. Look how it nestles.

Al Lettieri: I still think mine is cuter. Also, you have hair like a girl.

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6 Responses to CAT OF THE DAY 043: THE GETAWAY

  1. swanstep says:

    Not sure if you’re still soliciting suggestions, but there was a cat called ‘Ayatollah’ in Beineicx’s Diva in the early ’80s. I suspect that in keeping with the all-surface style of that film that it was neither a cataphor nor a catafice (just a hat tip to the strange, self-contradictory boomlet of anti-capitalist, Ayatollah-chic that Foucault and others were indulging in at the time). But I could be surprised (and was there a cat in Moon in The Gutter? Who (re)watches that film these days to tell?). Worth a ranty entry in any case.

  2. AnneBillson says:

    Great idea! Thanks. I reckon I shall ALWAYS be soliciting suggestions; there’s no shortage of cats on film, but it’s always nice to find ones that are a bit off the beaten track, especially in non-anglophone films. A long time since I’ve seen Diva – would be a good excuse to revisit it.

  3. swanstep says:

    Arghh, checking back over Diva (1981) now, the cat scene (at about 35 mins in) is shorter and less consequential than I’d remembered it as being. And I vaguely thought the cat came back later in the film but evidently it doesn’t. So, I don’t know that there’s enough there for you after all. My apologies. How about Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)? (Not as magical as a Totoro but the cat Jiji is still a great character and the idea that as Kiki grows up she loses the ability to converse with her cat is moving to nieces everywhere I can report).

  4. AnneBillson says:

    No apology necessary; cats don’t have to be consequential to be eligible for inclusion – I run a very broad church here. Kiki’s Delivery Service has always been on the list, but I only just covered My Neighbour Totoro, so am putting some distance between them.

  5. Pingback: CAT OF THE DAY 062 | CATS ON FILM


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