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.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Cat Classics on Film: That Darn Cat (1997)

Cat Classics on Film

Today’s Cat Classic on Film is the 1997 version of the excellent 1965 film That Darn Cat. To know immediately how the two movies compare, just note where we placed the word “excellent” in the previous sentence.

The plot

The cat in the poster is cute, but he looks nothing like DC!
The movie’s plot got a makeover that in our opinion doesn’t have much life or fun in it. In the update, a stereotypically self-centered rich-but-broke Boston couple are the targets of a kidnapping scheme. The wife is supposed to be taken for ransom, but the kidnappers nab the maid instead.

Meanwhile, in small-town Edgefield, teenager Patti Randall (Christina Ricci) hates her life. When asked why she wears black all the time, she replies, “Because it matches my soul.” Things pick up for her when one morning her fluffy gray-and-white tabby, DC, shows up wearing a wristwatch around his neck. The letters “H-E-l-l”  are scratched into the back of it. Patti realizes the watch is a match for the one the kidnapped maid is shown wearing in a newspaper photo and the letters are meant to spell “Help” (but she does get her mother to say “hell,” which we guess is supposed to be funny).

Patti ditches school to take her story to the FBI office in Boston, where young goofball agent Zeke Kelso (Doug E. Doug) is assigned to deal with the cat. Kelso organizes agents to follow DC, hoping the furry informant will lead them to the kidnappers.

The cat

Our biggest beef with this movie is its two-dimensional, barely breathing characters, and sadly, that problem extends to the cat. DC is played by a cat named Elvis, who may be have been a talented cat actor, but he’s just not given a lot to do in this role. Sure, he does some fine running and jumping, but beyond the story of him leaving home every evening at eight o’clock to check out the town, his character is never developed. In the original film, DC was the star. In this version, he’s more of a side character.

We learned from Cinema Cats (an excellent site if you’re really into cats in movies) that Elvis was rescued from North Hollywood Animal Shelter by trainer Larry Madrid. Elvis was supposed to be a double for another cat in a project Madrid was working on, but the new rescue turned out to be a natural star. It’s too bad he wasn’t given a chance to shine in this role.

Our verdict

It wasn’t necessarily a bad idea to remake That Darn Cat, and we can see a lot of potential … with a script completely different from the one that actually resulted. Remember being at that age when you thought it was funny if your mom said “hell”? That’s the age group this 1997 version is aimed at. And honestly, we wonder if many of them would be all that entertained by it. Cristina Ricci does have her moments as Patti, but the movie is not titled Patti Catches a Kidnapper—it’s That Darn Cat.

We were disappointed by this film (in case you haven’t realized that by now). I am reluctantly raising half a paw for it, and that's only for Elvis the Cat. He did a fine job, and it's not his fault he had such a poor script to work with.

Half a Paw Up! An okay movie

If you want to see a cat comedy that (a) features a cat actor in an excellent role and (b) is actually funny, we highly recommend the 1965 version of That Darn Cat!


  1. Mom loved the original of this movie!! She never saw the remake.

    The Florida Furkids

  2. guyz....we think we will chex out de furst moovee...thanx for de honest ree veew ~~~ :) ♥♥

  3. Unnecessary remakes are unnecessary.

  4. Thanks for the review. There are so many cat screenplays out there, ready for the big time. It's too bad they feel they have to remake stuff! - Tom x

  5. I don't think I ever saw the remake, and maybe that's a good thing?

  6. The movie, "Nine Lives" was another AWFUL cat movie; it's obvious that the people who made the film don't know a thing about cats! Stupid...but thanks for the review!

    1. Agreed. How on Earth did Spacey and Walken end up in "Nine Lives"?

  7. I've never seen this. That Darn Cat would be a pretty hard movie to remake!

  8. I didn't know they remade this. The remakes are never as good as the originals.

  9. Re-makes are usually a bad genre to begin with, but you've confirmed my fears about this specific film.

  10. It's a sad thing when good actors like Elvis end up in bad movies!! :)