Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Shadow of the Cat (1961)


The Shadow of the Cat (1961) is a British horror film directed by John Gilling, an English film director and screenwriter who is best known for directing The Plague of the Zombies (1966), The Reptile (1966) and The Mummy's Shroud (1967).  The Shadow of the Cat (1961) was his first of several directorial assignments for Hammer. The film stars AndrĂ© Morell, who appeared in a number of Hammer's horror films throughout the 1960s. The cast also includes Barbara Shelley who was Hammer Horror's leading female star appearing in such films as The Gorgon (1964), Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966), Rasputin, the Mad Monk (1966), and Quatermass and the Pit (1967) and another Hammer film veteran Freda Jackson who appeared in Hammer classic The Brides of Dracula (1960).

The story line is somewhat silly with the feline nemesis, but does manage to hold on to its
momentum throughout the 79 minutes of run time. The plot revolves around Tabitha, a house cat and pet of the wealthy Ella Venable. When the cat witnesses her owner being murdered by her husband and two of her servants, she sets out to avenge the woman’s death. The murders realizing that the Tabitha is seeking revenge try to catch and kill the cat, the only witness to the crime.

This Hammer production offers a unique filming technique known by some as kitty vison or cat-a-scope where some scenes offer the audience the cat’s point of view. The Shadow of the Cat (1961) is one of the lesser known Hammer horror films but is the cat’s meow (pun definitely intended) with fans of the Old Dark House mystery films and Hammer productions. Although tame by today standards this film is certainly worth a look.

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