Did you know cats have been stealing the show on the silver screen since at least 1901?
That year, British entertainer George Albert Smith released a 35-second silent movie clip called The Little Doctor, which showed a girl feeding medicine to her cat. It was re-released in 1903 and titled The Sick Kitten.
Since then, cats have starred in some of history's most epic films.
The iconic 1961 flic gave us one of American cinematography's most recognized images—Audrey Hepburn's high chignon and black cigarette holder. Hepburn earned an Academy Award nomination, butOrangey, an orange cat who played Hepburn's pet, won his secondPATSY Award (Picture Animal Top Star of the Year) for the film. To this day, Orangey remains the only movie star cat to receive the award twice.
Marlon Brando stroked a frisky cat in the chillingopening scene of this spectacular 1972 movie about a crime family. Unlike Orangey, this cat was not a professional actor. Instead, director Francis Ford Coppoladiscovered the animal abandoned on Paramount's grounds. The cat's purring obfuscated Brando's speech, and technicians had to loop in the words later.
Filmed in 1965, this classic comedy starring Hayley Mills and Dean Jones earned recognition for its rare charm. One of the traditional Siamese cats who played the titular character also starred as Syn inThe Incredible Journey. In the 1997 remake ofThat Darn Cat, a feline actor named Elvis performed the role.
A zany 2001 film, Cats & Dogs reveals an epic, sophisticated showdown between cats and dogs whose humans are unaware of the conflict.The filmmakers used talented live animals as well as animatronic puppets and computer graphic imagery to bring the story to life. The movie set new quality standards for the care of animal actors.
It took Japanese directorMasanori Hataand associate directorKon Ichikawathree years to shoot the 74 hours of film that would grow into the heartwarming tale of an orange tabby cat named Milo and his Pug dog buddy Otis. Released in the US in 1989, it's the quintessential cat-and-dog story for all ages.
Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller headlined what was arguably the funniest cast of the year 2000—or perhaps ever. Their dark comic portrayal of a woman's fiance meeting her terrifying father spawned two sequels and picked up a slew of awards.A cat called Jinx provided much of the film's tension. TwoHimalayans named Bailey and Misha played the role, andDeNiro reportedly adored them.
In 2011, two French directors created this critically acclaimed animated film about a gray cat who swallowed a parrot and learned to talk. The Rabbi's Cat sensitively and humorously depicted the life of Jews in North Africa during the 1920s.
Antonio Banderas' portrayal of this (in)famous cat of European fairy tales gained him plenty of fans inShrek 2. In 2011, DreamWorks Animation gave Puss in Boots his own film. It grossed $554.9 million at the box office and garnered prestigious award nominations.
No list of famous movie cats is complete without a mention ofSi and Am. They were the villainous duo whose antics caused the lovely Lady to flee her blissful home with Jim Dear and Darling. By running away, Lady met Tramp, her one true love, so Si and Am were actually the film's heroes, if you think about it. Besides,they could sing beautifully.
My favorite cat movie as a kid wasThe Incredible Journey, the 1963 Disney story of a Siamese cat named Syn. She and her two dog friends got separated from their family on vacation. The animals traveled 200 miles across the Canadian wilderness to find their home again. The film was remade in 1993 under the titleHomeward Bound. The producers renamed Syn as Sassy, and the award-winning actress Sally Field voiced her.
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