A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Cat Classics on Film: That Darn Cat! (1965)

Cat Classics on Film badge

That Darn Cat, the 1965 version directed by Robert Stevenson, is a true Disney classic. The film was based on the book Undercover Cat, by Gordon Gordon and Mildred Gordon, who (along with Bill Walsh) also wrote the screenplay and were nominated for Edgar Allan Poe and Writer's Guild of America awards. It features plenty of antics from some colorful humans…and one super-cool cat.

The plot

That Darn Cat! (1965)
A cat on the prowl never knows what he’s going to get caught up in, as DC (Darn Cat) finds out when he follows a fine-smelling shopping bag from the market to an apartment. The shopping bag, filled with salmon and steak, doesn’t travel by itself, obviously. It’s carried by a man who turns out to be a bank robber. Actually, he’s sort of a junior bank robber. He and his senior partner have recently scored a suitcase full of cash and taken a teller hostage.

Not that DC is interested in any of this. Humans are always doing some weird thing, and it’s often best to just not pay much attention. DC very sensibly focuses on the food, which puts him alone in the kitchen with the teller, Margaret (played by Grayson Hall), when she is forced to cook for the crooks. Margaret is pretty smart, and she takes the opportunity to replace the cat’s collar with her wristwatch. She’s even able to scratch “HEL” on the watch’s back before she’s interrupted.

When DC goes home after his night’s adventures, it takes some little while before any of the humans in his house even notice the watch. Finally, Patti Randall (Hayley Mills) sees it and the inscription and soon deduces that DC has brought a message from the kidnap victim: HELP. But will anyone believe it?

Well, turns out the FBI, and specifically agent Zeke Kelso (Dean Jones), is willing to take DC on as an “informant.” All they have to do is follow the cat on his nightly rounds, and he’ll lead them to the kidnappers’ hideout.

Hilarity ensues.

Let’s talk about that darn cat

Unless we just missed it (and we were watching very carefully), the cat actor in this film is uncredited. Animal trainer William R. Koehler is credited, but Syn the Siamese cat is not. And let’s face it, while the trainer was certainly important in the film’s creation, Syn (who had earlier appeared in The Incredible Journey) did a lot of the work—the running and jumping, the dragging of the duck. (Did we mention that DC steals a duck? We particularly enjoyed that part.) Sure, he had cat body doubles for some parts, but still, it’s Syn who has all the charisma and poise on screen.  It’s Syn who has the beautiful blue eyes set in that dark face, making him look all handsome and mysterious.

You humans have your Clark Gables, your Cary Grants, your George Clooneys. We cats have Syn. Meee-ow.

Our verdict

That Darn Cat is two hours of laugh-out-loud fun. Seeing a bunch of FBI agents try to tail a cat on the prowl? Funny! The antics of a nosy neighbor (Elsa Lanchester) and her long-suffering husband (William Demarest)? Also funny! An FBI agent following a cat through a drive-in theater while a surfing movie is in progress? Yes, funny! We also admire Patti’s spunk and her willingness to do the right thing no matter what.

Make some popcorn and curl up with your cat for this Disney classic!

Two Paws Up--A Great Movie!

A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good movie; two paws is for a great movie. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!

The link below is an Amazon Associates link. If you purchase the movie through this link, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account. Thank you!


  1. I love that movie, I haven't seen it in a long time. I'll have to put it on my wish list.

  2. The old Disney movies...wow, haven't watched one in forever! What a list of actors too. May I suggest a recent cat movie, "Gifted"?

    1. I haven't seen "Gifted" but will definitely check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. I don't think I ever saw this movie, but it sure looks like fun! They'd never get away with not crediting the cat these days! :)

  4. I love this movie! I haven't seen it in years but it's one of my very favorite cat flicks :)

  5. I can't believe I have never seen this.