Here's a list of the top five cats in old Hollywood films. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), starring Audrey Hepburn and a tabby named Orangey, is on the list.
From Lassie to Rin Tin Tin, dogs have always been old Hollywood's pet of choice, but, ever since the movies began, cats have had their place on the silver screen.
Cats were everywhere in silent films -- the early movie The Sick Kitten (1901) is a turn-of-the-century precursor to today's YouTube videos filled with cute kittys (you can watch it here) -- and stars like Mary Pickford, Clara Bow, and Charlie Chaplin enhanced their appeal with audiences by featuring felines in their films. Pioneering filmmaker Mack Sennett even had his own cat star, a Maltese named Pepper, who appeared in 17 films and became so popular that she was often featured in fan magazines.
|Carole Lombard in a glamorous photo shoot with a black cat.|
Cats appeared less often in sound movies. They are most memorable in animation: Tom of the Tom and Jerry cartoons is probably the most famous cat in all of cinema, not to mention Sylvester in the Looney Tunes cartoons and Walt Disney's array of famous felines (Lucifer in Cinderella, the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, The Aristocats). Also, cats, or at least the image of cats as temperamental, devious creatures, were often used as a potent symbol. That's why Elizabeth Taylor's spirited Southern belle in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1957) is nicknamed Maggie the Cat, and why Cary Grant plays a former jewel thief known as The Cat in To Catch a Thief (1955).
Today's list will consider cats in films who are companion animals. They appear in a diverse array of films from a beloved family musical to a groundbreaking film noir. So without further ado, here's the list of movies and where you can watch them.
L'Atalante (1934), dir. Jean Vigo
|Pere Jules (Michel Simon) with one of his beloved cats in L'Atalante (1934).|
I Remember Mama (1948), dir. George Stevens
|Philip Dorn, Irene Dunne, and June Hedin (holding Uncle Elizabeth) in I Remember Mama (1948).|
The Wizard of Oz (1939), dir Victor Fleming
This beloved family musical's alpha feline is Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion, but a Siamese cat has a memorable cameo in a pivotal scene. The Wizard (Frank Morgan) is giving his farewell speech to Oz's citizens, when a cat in the crowd attracts the attention of Dorothy's dog Toto (played by cairn terrier, Terry). The scrappy pup can't resist chasing the feisty feline, which leads to a premature exit for the Great Oz. FYI: The actress holding the cat is sometimes identified as Lois January, while other sources say it isn't her. DVD, Blu ray, and video on demand.
The Third Man (1949), dir. Carol Reed
|Joseph Cotten and a cat on the Vienna set of The Third Man (1949).|
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), dir. Blake Edwards
|Audrey Hepburn and Orangey in a scene from Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961).|
Feel free to jump in and comment on your favorite cinematic cats in the comments section.