Saturday, October 12, 2013
31 Days of Halloween - Day 12 - Movie 2
A house cat witnesses the murder of her mistress by her husband and two house servants. The cat then becomes a living symbol of their guilty consciences, and perhaps even a creature of vengeance.
The Shadow of the Cat (1961) is a Hammer film that has fallen through the cracks. Starring André Morell as the scheming husband and Barbara Shelley as the beloved niece of the murdered woman, this black and white horror mystery directed by John Gilling is one of my favorite movies I've viewed this Countdown. Much has been made about the cat being physically unintimidating, and how it would have been better if, like the title suggests, it had been left as a shadow. I understand this. The cat looks very much like a cat I used to have, and about as nonthreatening, but the movie, especially the cast, does such a good job of building up the tension and the growing guilt and fear of the murderous trio, that their fear of the cat becomes very believable. The movie is more about how their own guilt is building to the point of bringing about their individual downfalls, and less about the cat acting out its own sense of vengeance, that it doesn't matter. When it comes down to it, this movie is about greed and the search for a hidden will, but it is masterfully done, and doesn't deserve to be the obscure film it's become.