THE SHADOW OF THE CAT
(director: John Gilling; screenwriter: George Baxt; cinematographer: Arthur Grant; editor: ohn Pomeroy; music: Mikis Theodorakis; cast: Catherine Lacey (Ella Venable), Andre Morell (Walter Venable), Freda Jackson (Clara), Andrew Crawford (Andrew, the Butler ), Barbara Shelley (Beth Venable), William Lucas (Jacob), Conrad Phillips (Michael Latimer), Alan Wheatley (Inspector Rowles); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jon Penington; Universal-International (BHP); 1961-UK)
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The so-so mystery horror B-film was released under Hammer’s pseudonym, BHP Productions. John Gilling(“The Frightened Man”/”The Gamma People”/”The Reptile”) directs and George Bricker screenwriter keep things average for this obscure film except for the unusual premise.
In this diverting old dark house shocker, set in a Victorian mansion, a tame pussy cat turns ferocious when seeking revenge against the treacherous trio who murdered her mistress to get her inheritance. The cat watches its wealthy master, Ella Venable (Catherine Lacey), slain and buried by her hubby Walter (Andre Morell) and the family’s two servants–the butler Andrew (Andrew Crawford) and the housekeeper Clara (Freda Jackson). When Ella’s nice niece Beth (Barbara Shelley) visits the mansion with newspaperman Michael Latimer (Conrad Phillips), the killers become aware that the cat is antagonistic to them and try to kill her. But the cat gets Andrew to die in quicksand and frightens Clara to fall down the staircase to her death. When the will discloses that Beth alone will inherit the fortune, Walter allies with relatives to eliminate Beth. But the cat takes care of the bad relatives, and a panicky Walter succumbs to a heart attack.
It’s absurdly amusing. The film’s mark of distinction is that the creepy murder scene was filmed from the P.O.V. of the cat.
REVIEWED ON 8/15/2015 GRADE: B