That Darn Cat! (1965)
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, although younger kids will enjoy the cute cat's antics, the movie is way too long to hold their complete attention. The kidnapping plot -- though treated humorously -- might frighten very young or sensitive kids. There is some scuffling and the appearance of guns, though no one is hurt. Otherwise, the movie is squeaky clean.
What's the story?
In THAT DARN CAT, D.C., a Siamese cat owned by Patti Randall (Haley Mills), follows a bank robber back to his apartment, where he and his partner are holding a bank teller prisoner. Seeing the cat, the teller begins to scratch the world "help" on the back of her watch and attaches it to the cat's collar. Patti finds the message and brings it to Zeke Kelso (Dean Jones), an FBI agent who's then assigned to follow D.C., even though he's allergic to cats. The FBI's first two attempts to trail the cat to the robbers' hideout end up as farcical fiascoes, but the third time is the charm. Using a transmitter hidden in its collar, D.C. leads the authorities to the thieves' apartment and Zeke arrests the crooks with the help of Patti and D.C.
Is it any good?
Despite being overlong and leisurely paced, That Darn Cat is an amusing and enjoyable romp that will appeal to both adults and kids. Hayley Mills was Disney's biggest child-star of the 1960s and it's easy to see why. Graduating to a teen role here after several movies playing a child, she's as bright, charming, and precocious as ever, while never taking herself too seriously. Dean Jones, who also starred in a string of Disney family films, demonstrates his deft touch as a light comedian as the bumbling Zeke. The supporting cast is stocked with familiar character actors who will bring a smile to the face of anyone who grew up in the '60s.
Director Robert Stevenson, also a longtime Disney associate, expertly mixes slapstick hijinks with mystery and suspense. The scenes in which the FBI try to tail D.C. through the neighborhood at night are very funny -- as the feline encounters angry dogs, runs through a drive-in movie theater, and makes the G-men look more like the Keystone Kops. The movie is definitely from an earlier, fantasized era when everyone was clean-cut, but it's good fun for the whole family.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about classic movies. Is this movie still funny, even though it was made in the 1960s?
Where did you find yourself laughing? Did anything seem outdated to you -- or not make sense?
Older kids may be interested in comparing and contrasting it with the remake.