CAT OF THE DAY 074: YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967)
The White Cat of Evil first appeared in From Russia With Love. It could be glimpsed again, briefly, in Thunderball (1965), but was to have a more substantial role in Sean Connery’s fifth outing as Bond – something it would no doubt come to regret.
You Only Live Twice was scripted by Roald Dahl, and features one of John Barry’s best scores, with a great title-song sung by Nancy Sinatra. Donald Pleasence plays 007’s arch-enemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who hi-jacks space capsules (I always feel terribly sorry for the astronaut who’s left drifting in space) and oversees operations from his headquarters inside a hollowed-out Japanese volcano.
As Blofeld’s role was expanded from previous Bond films, so was the role of his white cat. For most of the film it looks ill at ease and self-conscious, often staring straight into the camera, until – at the film’s climax – it makes it quite clear it would rather be anywhere else than in a supervillain’s HQ with loud explosions going off. Pleasence does jolly well to hang on to it and stay in character when it starts to struggle.
Obviously, there are downsides to being a White Cat of Evil.
I hope they made a fuss of the poor thing afterwards and gave it extra tuna treats. And I hope the animal-casting director learnt a lesson – if you’re going to put a cat into a scene like that, you had damn well better make sure it’s a cat which is accustomed to loud noises.
- Cat of the Day 007 (catsonfilm.wordpress.com)
- White Cat of Evil (catsonfilm.wordpress.com)
- Dog People Vs. Cat People (apartmentguide.com)
or a deaf cat… weirdly white cats are often deaf…
Yes, I’ve heard that too – especially if they have one blue eye and one green, apparently.
I can almost see the puncture wounds in Pleasance’s arm after that take!
Agreed! Though I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Hollywood policy to de-claw cats around this era (I’m damn sure they wouldn’t have allowed claws anywhere near Hepburn’s naked back in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, for example) – I’ve been squinting at that picture at the top of the page, trying to work out whether those are claws or bits of white cat fluff…
I only noticed that recently & got really upset. Poor Tiddles Blofeld.
Pingback: CAT OF THE DAY 088 | CATS ON FILM
Pingback: CAT OF THE DAY 093 | CATS ON FILM
According to the audio commentary on the DVD when Pleasance lets his gun off it scared the cat nearly to death and it did a runner (you can actually see the cat scramming in the film). It was so scared it took the production team two days of searching the volcano set to find it again. After that Mr Broccoli was almost sued by the cat handler because the cat was so traumatised by the experience it solidly refused to go near a film camera ever again. As it was already pre booked to appear in a series of TV adverts this cost the cat handler a lot of money.
Thanks! This is interesting.
And I don’t blame the poor cat for doing a runner; I would have done the same. Still makes you wonder why on earth they didn’t hire a cat that didn’t freak out at sudden loud noises.
I don’t think there is such a cat (unless it’s stuffed?) they have very acute hearing which is why you should keep your pets away from fireworks etc … That said it’s possible you could acclimatise a cat to loud noises but it’d probably be easier to use camera trickery… Odd that this occurred to no one till afterwards but that’s hindsight for you…