03 April 2016

Movie Review: "That Darn Cat!" (1965)

Rated: G for general audiences
Starring: Hayley Mills, Dean Jones, and Dorothy Provine
Released: 1965
Synopsis: A neighborhood feline known only as That Darn Cat, or D.C. for short, turns up at Patti's (Hayley Mills) house with a wristwatch around its neck.  Upon investigating the timepiece, she finds what appears to be a cry for help etched on the back.  After finding out about the disappearance of a local bank teller, Patti enlists the help of FBI agent Zeke Kelso (screen legend Dean Jones) to find the culprit before it's too late.  However, D.C. is known as That Darn Cat for a reason: he is constantly getting into mischief.  Will Patti and Zeke ever be able to find the missing bank teller before it's too late?

The Good: I'm a longtime fan of Disney's live-action productions, and this old-school film of theirs is a treat.  With hilarity, action, and plenty of cute moments, it's easy to see why this movie has stood the test of time.  The heroes are flawed yet easy to root for, and the villains are utterly despicable.  Fans of the House of Mouse who haven't seen this yet should definitely seek it out.

The Bad: As cute and innocent as this was, I was a bit turned off by the incessant smoking.  Also, despite the "G" rating, the action and themes may be a bit much for the youngest viewers.

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: A nosy neighbor worries about an affair that never happens. 4/5
  • Nudity: Shirtless guy seen from a distance. 4/5
  • Language: Name-calling, at worst. 4/5
  • Violence: Plenty of slapstick, as well as some gun violence; people are shot at, but nobody is hurt. 4/5
  • Drugs: Smoking in a few scenes. 3/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: The movie centers around an innocent woman being kidnapped.  (Spoiler: She escapes unhurt.) 4/5
  • Other: Patti, Zeke, and others tell lies to cover up their operation. 4/5
Conclusion: I got burned out on Disney or Disney-style animation as a kid; it was a product of seeing films such as Beauty and the Beast or We're Back!: A Dinosaur's Story umpteen times on home video.  Even in my later elementary school years, my favorite films from the House of Mouse were ones like My Favorite Martian, Flubber, or George of the Jungle; live-action ones, not cartoons.  So, I had high hopes for this movie, and it pretty much delivered.  Now, I need to check out some other old-school Disney live-action films.

Score: 4/5

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