You’ll need good eyesight for this one. Since it’s from the last scene of Luchino Visconti’s magnificent film of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa‘s novel, it might be construed as a SPOILER! But honestly, I don’t think so. It’s not that kind of film.
In the very last shot, Sicilian aristocrat Prince Don Fabrizio Salina (Burt Lancaster) has left the ball and is just embarking on his slow, symbolic walk into the obscurity of a dark street.
But wait! The cat-loving viewer’s attention is suddenly distracted by a ginger and white puss which saunters up to Salina. Totally unfazed by the tolling of a bell, Nino Rota’s swelling soundtrack and the weight of history bearing down on the film’s central character, Ginger & White Puss miaows persistently, changes its mind and turns its back on Salina, scratches its ear, disappears into a doorway and then, just when you think it’s gone for good, pops out again and turns its arse towards the camera as the word FINE (“The End”) comes up.
Too late, you remember you were supposed to be watching Salina, but he’s already vanished into the darkness! Which is perhaps the whole point. Job well done, Ginger & White Puss.
I’ve often wondered how much of the cat’s performance was improvised.
Apologies if you came up against a “page not found” message earlier. Slight clicking-wrong-button mishap this morning. Hope it’s fixed now.