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  • Sleuthing in suburbia--Disney style--after a small town teller is kidnapped by two bank robbers. Not only does this comedy feature the least-objectionable performance by Dean Jones ever, it also has Hayley Mills and Dorothy Provine as a wonderfully kooky pair of sisters and a fantastic feline hero. This Siamese cat is just gorgeous, and it's a lot of fun watching the bumbling humans trying to tail him down alleys and city streets. The bad guys of the piece (Neville Brand and Frank Gorshin) are also perfect, threatening but not overbearing, with just enough menace to make the kidnapped woman's predicament a little scary. I also loved the wacky next-door neighbors (Elsa Lanchester and William Demarest), Hayley's surfer-boyfriend named Canoe (Tom Lowell), and befuddled Ed Wynn as a jewelry salesman. Simply put, a wonderful modern-day caper for parents and kids which puts the remake with Christina Ricci to shame. ***1/2 from ****
  • Saw this about '74 or so, it was great. Loved the garage door gags, the cats, Elsa and William, the two gals are fine, Hayley Mills especially. Dean Jones had to have been in about 100 Disney things back then, this was def. one of his better roles.

    You also have to like what they did w/ the baddies, Neville Brand and The Riddler. They work well together and do a fine job w. the mix of comedy and real malice towards their captive.

    The cat was a funny part, i remember them trying to 'paw print' him and them winding up plastering poor Dean Jones head to foot w/ the cat's inky paw prints.

    Say what you will, Disney doesn't make things like this anymore and that is our loss.

    *** outta **** it's fun.
  • This is one of those movies I saw in the theater as a kid. Simply put, it was hilarious. Maybe it was mob mentality, but virtually EVERYONE in the entire place was laughing uncontrollably throughout the entire film. We're talking a real side-splitter here, folks. I have never laughed so hard at a movie before or since, with the possible exception of another Disney film, "The Absent-Minded Professor" (1961) which I also saw in a theater.

    So what makes a good film, anyhow? Fantastic acting? Great plot? Beautiful cinematography? Superb directing? Babes? Well, you can't say it had any of those things. But it DID set out to do what it attempted to do, which was: make people laugh. A lot. And that makes it, in my opinion, a pretty darn good movie.
  • Jessica-652 November 2003
    I have fond memories of watching this as a child, but I thought my memories might be too rosy, so my expectations were not high as I got ready to re-watch this film. However, it was surprisingly entertaining throughout, except near the end, where I agree that the scene showing everybody trailing everybody else went on a little too long. You can tell the plot was taken from a novel - there are several funny lines, there is more telling detail, the bad guys are convincingly threatening (as others have said), and the characters are more three-dimensional than usual for a 1960s "family" movie. The teenage heroine (played by Hayley Mills) is resourceful and actually has a steady boyfriend(!), though of course she never kisses him, even at the drive-in! I also like the actress who plays the hostage - she *looks* like an older woman who might actually work at a bank - not like a Hollywood glamour girl! I haven't seen the 1997(?) remake, but I suspect it isn't as good as the original. All in all, an enjoyable movie for a Saturday night at home!
  • dowlic18 October 2003
    I hadn't seen this movie in 30 years when my kids decided to rent it the other night! The cast is classic, from The Riddler(Batman), to Roddy McDowell, to Uncle Charlie(My Three Sons). And of course, Dean Jones and Haley Mills. It's one of those timeless, goofy Disney comedy classics that stands in a kitsch class of it's own! Ya gotta see it again!

    YMMV if you're a tweener at this point (too mature for it's cornball silliness, and too young to be nostalgic!)
  • "That Darn Cat!" can be considered the first in the series of human/animal buddy caper films (see "K9", "Turner and Hooch", "Oh Heavenly Dog" to name a few). And it's also one of the funniest.

    D.C. is a clever and precocious Siamese who is forever getting into mischief, but who forever remains one of filmdom's coolest cats. But when D.C. (for "Darn Cat" - though D.C. is also an acronym for something unspeakable in a Disney Film!) becomes an unsuspecting witness to a bank robbery/kidnapping, he finds himself the FBI's most valued informant.

    The cast of this of this cool Disney caper is sophisticated, intelligent and frequently hilarious. Hayley Mills, as D.C.'s overly-zealous owner, has finally graduated to womanhood, while still maintaining the girlish charm that captured the hearts of Pollyan-ites and Parent Trappers everywhere. Her lines of dialog are extensive, and though her voice begins to grate after a while, she is both smart and quite ballsy for a teen of the early 70s. Dean Jones as unflappable FBI Agent Kelso manages to display a dignity, wit and charm not usually present in the straight man of a Disney Comedy (Who else would remain calm as the little beast nearly tears him to shreds, covers him with ink, and leads him on three separate chases in pursuit of the elusive wild goose?).

    Bad guys Neville Brand and Frank "The Riddler" Gorshin simply ooze evil when they are coolly discussing the potential fate of hostage Grayson Hall. Even now as I watch this movie, I really BELIEVE they would do serious bodily harm to this poor woman, in much the same manner that Roddy McDowell (as a hot-headed and stuffy neighbor) would be willing to de-gut our hero, the cat.

    And therein lies our focus - the cat. This brave little feline is the true (and UNBILLED!) hero of the piece. And D.C. clearly is capable of holding his own against overwhelming odds. Even with star talent surrounding at every turn, the writers were smart enough to keep the focus on D.C. and his antics. The assorted chases, the jealous boyfriend, the vengeful neighbor (with his duck dinner clutched firmly in hand), the bickering couple next-door; all revolve around or are in some fashion related to, the actions of the furry little sleuth.

    The writing is fun; speaking on a heretofore unseen level of intelligence to its young audience. The result is that children are entertained and clearly understand what's going on, while grownups marvel at the complex doings in a small town that are precipitated by one mischievous kitty and the screwball humans that surround him.

    This film is a whopping credit to Disney's talented live-animal handlers and art direction teams. The sets and scenery in this delightful little any-town are realistic enough to make you believe they are a real community, yet spritely and colorful enough to make you want to move there... The drive-in movie theater scene still gives me a good laugh.

    In all, "That Darn Cat!" is a delight to view on multiple levels, whether you're all alone, or in a room full of pre-schoolers. For an extra treat, pick up any CD by Disney that has the film's title track by Bobby Darin. The cool loungey tune rings vaguely of Harry Connick Jr. and would probably be right at home coming out of the pipes of Ol' Blue Eyes, Mr. Sinatra, himself.
  • My main problem with Disney now is their live-action films. Although their animated features are miles ahead of every other company's (yes, they are), they seem to have forgotten to add the same quality to their live-action movies. Disney, give us more movies like "That Darn Cat!" (the remake never happened for me) "The Princess Diaries" was very good, in my opinion, but it's nowhere on the level of this movie. Like someone else said, this film doesn't talk down to children; it spurts big, clever words like "conspicuous" and doesn't care whether the kids will get it or not. This film is clever, fast and amazingly funny. In fact, I'm shocked it only got a measly 6 out of 10 here. It deserves much, much more.
  • The Siamese cat not only has the title role, he steals the film! The silly plot involves a couple of bumbling bank robbers (FRANK GORSHIN is one of them), who kidnap a woman from the bank who's able to signal for help by putting her wrist watch around the cat's neck. The cat belongs to HAYLEY MILLS, who picks up on the signal and then must convince the FBI to help her (and her cat) find the robbers in time to save the woman. DEAN JONES is the earnest but bumbling FBI man who decides to help Hayley.

    All of the incidents surrounding the cat are deftly handled with a great deal of humor. ELSA LANCHESTER and WILLIAM DEMAREST are funny as snooping neighbors and RODDY McDOWALL and ED WYNN have some good moments too. But it's HAYLEY MILLS at her most appealing and "that darn cat" that really steal the show. The cat "DC" is simply amazingly natural and perhaps the most convincing member of the cast.

    Summing up: One of the better Disney comedies during the '60s.
  • This is probably about as good as the Disney comedies of the 50's and 60's get. I think one reason it works is that it doesn't exist in that goody-two-shoes world where many Disney films of the past took place. The crooks in this film are nasty guys, they steal, kidnap, and nearly beat and kill their female hostage. Not that that's a good thing, but it's certainly uncharacteristic for a Disney film. The script is also well written, the dialogue is, for the most part, believable. It does get a little too long toward the end though.
  • If you've ever had a Siamese cat, you will know that they are the wise guys of the cat world.

    In the history of the movies, there haven't been too many significant cat performances. Cats do not take direction well. On the movie set, they probably spend a lot of time arguing with directors over how to play a scene. If the studio would let them, cats would probably want to direct the movie themselves.

    "That Darn Cat!" features the best movie performance ever by a cat. The leading man -- or cat, in this case -- is a crafty Siamese named D.C. (Darn Cat). He is the star of the movie, the one who carries the story. And he does it with suave feline sophistication. (Never mind that several cats played the role of D.C. in making the film. They were *all* good.)

    D.C. is a smooth operator. Like Bogart, he prowls the back streets of his suburban L.A. neighborhood, the king of his territory, his blue eyes observing everything, his nose to the wind, his mind working out all the angles.

    Throughout the movie, D.C. is performing tricks and stunts that would make Lassie or Rin-Tin-Tin envious. Take the movie's opening scene. D.C. hops up on a backyard fence, attracting the neighbor's dog, a Scottie, who jumps up and down at the fence, barking furiously, trying to get the cat. Then, D.C. hops down and slips into the yard through a crack in the fence. He strolls casually past the barking, leaping dog, and helps himself to the dog's supper dish. Eventually, the dog turns around. He does a double-take and runs at D.C., who calmly slips out through another crack in the fence.

    It's a classic Siamese trick! I have *owned* Siamese cats who would pull tricks like that on the neighborhood dogs.

    One night, when he is out for a stroll, D.C. stumbles into the hideout of two bumbling bank robbers (Frank Gorshin; Neville Brand) who took a female bank teller (Grayson Hall) as a hostage in their last robbery. The bank teller puts her wristwatch around D.C.'s neck with a message for "help" on the back, and tosses D.C. out the door.

    When D.C. returns home, his young owner, Patti Randall (Hayley Mills), finds the watch and the message. Patti is smart enough to figure out what has happened, and contacts F.B.I. agent Zeke Kelso (Dean Jones). The following night, the F.B.I. sets up a unique operation to track D.C. through the neighborhood, hoping the cat will lead them back to the bank robbers' hideout.

    The movie has a genuinely funny script, co-written by Bill Walsh (screenwriter on "Mary Poppins") and Gordon and Mildred Gordon, authors of the novel, "Undercover Cat," on which the movie was based. I've read the novel, and the Gordons really knew their cats, and how cats relate (or don't relate) to humans.

    A lot of the humor in the movie comes from D.C. having to deal with "non-cat people," especially Agent Kelso, who is allergic to cats. One of the funniest scenes in the movie comes when Kelso has to take D.C.'s paw print, and can't figure out how to fit D.C.'s prints onto the standard FBI fingerprint card. Needless to say, D.C. does not like having his paw printed.

    Hayley Mills does well in her last role for Disney. As Patti, she projects a kind of eager, Nancy Drew-like enthusiasm when she finds herself embroiled in a mystery. Even when the FBI starts to doubt her theory that D.C. has found the bank robbers, she still persists in her investigation. She knows she is right! Perhaps that's why she is the only human in the film that D.C. puts up with -- he finds her to be of equal intelligence to himself.

    There are small but ingenious supporting performances in the movie, little gems of character acting. Dorothy Provine plays Patti's older sister, Ingrid, who can't believe the fuss that occurs. Roddy McDowell is Ingrid's snobbish boyfriend. Elsa Lanchester and William Demarest are a pair of squabbling neighbors who know that something is going on next door. And Tom Lowell plays Patti's dopey boyfriend, Canoe, who is obsessed with surfing movies.

    (Some of the funniest gags in the movie occur late in the film, when Canoe accidentally gets involved in the FBI's trailing of D.C. through the neighborhood.)

    There are some funny cameos. Ed Wynn plays a nervous shop owner that Patti cons into helping her with the investigation. Iris Adrian has a great scene as a landlady who bullies the two bank robbers. And Richard Deacon has a funny role as a drive-in manager.

    But again, it is D.C. the cat who really carries the picture. It is the cat who outwits both the FBI and the bad guys, and saves the day at the end of the film. He probably wouldn't even care that Hayley Mills got star billing in the movie. For D.C., the greatest joy would be in the giving of his performance -- for what greater joy is there for a cat than simply the joy of...being a cat?

    P.S. The sly opening song, written by the Sherman Brothers, and sung by Bobby Darin, sets the tone of D.C.'s character perfectly. It is the most accurate song ever written about the character of a cat.
  • The novel, "That Darn Cat," was written by The Gordons and published a few years before the movie came out. I read the book and it's excellent. It's set in Los Angeles and clearly has an adult slant, although people of all ages who like mysteries would enjoy the novel. There was both humor and suspense in the book---but the movie was written like a sitcom and everyone acted too silly and zany. The movie should have been filmed on the streets of Los Angeles rather than the fake-looking backlot of Disney Studios! Obviously The Gordons (husband & wife mystery writers) knew that in order to turn their excellent novel into a Disney film (circa 1965) they had to write a screenplay that was bland and silly. The movie is okay but the novel is much better!
  • Disney is at it again, providing a cavalcade of laughs for the whole family.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    That Darn Cat (1965) was director Robert Stevenson's attempt to bring the girlish Haley Mills into womanly – if comedic – contemporary grace. She plays Patricia Randall, the impetuous wannabe sleuth and owner of D.C. (short for Darn Cat); a cross-eyed Siamese, sporting a wrist watch instead of a collar around its neck. Turns out the watch belongs to a bank teller who was taken hostage during a daring robbery. Enter FBI agent Zeke Kelso (Dean Jones), a congenial and squeaky clean cutie by 60s standards to whom Pat is immediately drawn. She's too nice to tell him how much she likes him. He's too polite to tell her to buzz off – especially after Pat takes it upon herself to enter the investigation as an active participant.

    This is one of those dated Disney comedies that, despite erring on the side of conservative caution and hopelessly virginal good humor, nevertheless hooks its audience with a flair for clean fun and corny vignettes. On this occasion, one of the running gags happens to be that poor Zeke has an allergy of kitties. This presents a problem during the film's pivotal showdown, since he can't seem to get his fits of sneezing under control. The impressive supporting cast includes Frank Gorshin (best remembered as the Riddler on Batman, but here put to good use as Iggy – the bank robber), Elsa Lanchester (as meddling, Kip MacDougall), Roddy McDowall (stuffy Gregory Benson), and Ed Wynn (as Mr. Hoffstedder – a zany watch jeweler). Remade in 1997 to nauseatingly dismal effect, this precocious diversion from the Disney stables in the one to beat, and, with a theme song warbled by no less a singer than Bobby Darin – what's not to love?

    The DVD transfer from Disney, for one thing. It's full frame! A very clean picture element, minus scratches and with a color palette that simply glows, is what you'll find on this occasion. Rich, solid blacks, very bright whites and natural looking flesh tones are the order of the day. Also, fine details are very nicely realized and film grain is kept to a bare minimum. The audio, though dated, is natural sounding for audio recordings of this vintage. Bobby Darin's song fares the best, with a sonic spread that will leave you toe-tapping for vintage 60s kitsch.
  • "That Darn Cat!" is terrific entertainment. It's a thriller that's disguised as a family movie. Think about what's going on in this movie. There's kidnapping, murder plots, jealous lovers and a race against time. The villains are great because they play it straight. Neville Brand and Frank Gorshin both deliver excellent performances. They are bad guys. They're not the usual Disney bumbling villains. These guys are killers. The rest of the cast are also great. "That Darn Cat!" is very funny and surprisingly suspenseful. It's so refreshing to see a family movie that doesn't talk down to the kids in the audience. Honorable mention: Ed Wynn.
  • This film may be unexceptional and not a 5-star masterpiece but goodness isn't it an improvement over the 1997 remake? Even with Christina Ricci in it, that film turned out to be very disappointing if somewhat watchable with one or two decent performances to savour. This 1965 film is a little too long and dated, and there are some parts where it is a little slow, however it is a lively piece of entertainment that is efficiently directed and is further advantaged by an exceptional cast. The script does have some nice, subtle, humorous touches while the music is nice and the plot carefully constructed. The cast elevate this though from a moderately enjoyable film to an entertaining, lively if somewhat unexceptional one. Hayley Mills is just perky enough in the title role, and William Damerest and Elsa Lanchester are fun support. However it is Dean Jones as the FBI agent with a cat allergy and Roddy McDowall as a drip whose ducks are the feline's favourite playmates who are the standouts in the human cast, while it is the cat who steals the film by a considerable whisker. Overall, not always exceptional, but a vast improvement over its remake. 7/10 Bethany Cox
  • I've lost count of the number of times I've seen this film, one of Disney's Top Five. I'm rather prejudiced, though, as I'm now living with a direct descendant of "DC" named BJ IV. We bought his (DC's) Great-Grandson from the breeder who bred the original "DC" and not only have the papers from the CFA naming the Disney Studios as his owners, but have managed to keep the direct lineage going, as BJ IV is "DC's" direct descendant. He's now 7 years old, and BJ V is currently in production, and should be born in October of 2005. The film is a classic, and if you're a Meezer Fanatic (You love Siamese Cats) you'll watch it forever too. UPDATE - Feb. 2006 - BJ V is now 4 months old, is as cute as a bug, and since his paws look like snowshoes, he's apparently going to be a BIG Kittie, like his famous Great-Great-Great-Grandad!
  • comeonandrock29 March 2008
    one of my favorite movies of all times...reminds me of a quiet childhood...sparkly, intelligent script...lovely acting(the way it's supposed to be, not your lame nowadays style)...a treasure...enriched my life.

    i was so happy to see the DVD in the store... probably seen it fifty times already, since i got daughter liked it too....i'll keep watching it until i know it by just brings so much joy...

    well...some movies rock and this is one of them, in my opinion...

    i also enjoyed the soundtrack....thanks for posting the lyrics, though you can copy them from the subtitles...
  • The first time I saw this movie, I was ten years old. For the longest time, it was my favorite Disney live-action film, and, do you know what? It still is. I don't like cats but D.C. will have you rolling in the floor with his antics. Interesting cast with Haylie "Miss Bliss" Mills playing D.C.'s owner and instigator of his sleuthing with the help of Zeke Kelso (Dean Jones, who incidentally is from my home state of Alabama.) And what's this? Dr. Julia Hoffman (Grayson Hall) of DARK SHADOWS fame plays a kidnapped bank teller with The Riddler from BATMAN (Frank Gorshin) and Al Capone (Neville Brand) from THE UNTOUCHABLES television show as the heavies. There is also good old Uncle Charlie from MY THREE SONS who plays a beleaguered husband trying to keep his nosy neighbor wife out of other peoples' business. Those scenes toward the end of the movie when everyone is following each other are a real hoot. I'll say one thing for D.C. He knows how to keep an entire neighborhood on its toes. Wonderful, clean family fare. 7 out of 10.
  • This is the sort of movie Disney specialized in back then, a modern setting involving everyday people neither overly glamorous or overly far-out, with a serious background over which humorous incidents occur. Disney abandoned this concept decades ago, but then so did everyone else assuming they made them in the first place. DC is definitely the star of the show -- well-trained I should add -- and Dean Jones does well playing it straight thru the comedic situations. The only unnecessary part is that of Ed Wynn. He could have been cut from the movie without anyone noticing. I suppose they had the old coot under contract and were forced to use him. His 'performance' brings the movie down from 10 stars to 9. Otherwise it's a good movie anyone who's not a film snob should enjoy.
  • Why doesn't Disney go back to making good, family friendly films like this? No outrageous language, no drugs, just wholesome. The title is the most risqué thing about That Darn Cat. Some trivia about this film; it was the last Disney film to feature Haley Mills and the first to feature Dean Jones.

    The supporting cast is great too, especially Roddy McDowall as the neighborhood bully, Gregory Benson and Elsa Lanchester as Mrs. McDougall. That Darn Cat is also directed by Robert Stevenson, along time Disney director of live action films. Even after 50 years, this is still a great film, still better than the 1997 remake.

    And like many other Disney films of the era, there is a title song with the opening credits.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Anything I write about this title must be considered biased by the fact that I like seeing cats in movies! And the cat in this one was absolutely great! A great cat-actor and shot great in some excellent realistic alley-prowling scenes. Don't get me wrong, it's not documentary realism, but live action "Top Cat".

    The very fact that a movie was made with a real live cat as it's ( near ) central character is in itself something I find amazing. But the movie as a whole is very entertaining. Hayley Mills is pleasantly incongruous in the American setting. I'm glad that she only used a slight American accent in one of the early scenes and then dropped it. It amused me greatly to look at the baby-faced actress and think "thats the mum of Kula Shakers front-man" ( if I'm not mistaken ). When she put her glasses on she appeared to become the prototype of the brainy girl in Scooby Doo.

    Dean Jones is almost a cartoon stereotype of the variety of sharp-suited young man that I think must by now be long extinct. His clash of cool and bumbling is perfectly pitched to seem both natural and comical.

    "Canoe" is a beautiful caricature of another variety of "hep cat" long gone. I didn't even realise that at one time it was cool for a young man to smoke a pipe! So the movie works as social-history as well!

    The side-story about the nosey neighbour is gently hilarious. Especially when a cop, told she's a man, tells her "You shouldn't dress as a woman, you don't have the face for it." Frank Gorshin is spot on as a dim-witted hood.

    The dog was excellent.

    However, the whole point of the movie is that darn cat! Does anyone know if he appeared in any other titles?
  • JP-2130 November 1998
    No matter how many times I see this movie it is just as good every time. Fine supporting cast, great music score, and a great plot all contribute to make a terrific movie.
  • ralphieboomer31 August 2020
    You have Neville Brand & Fair Deal Dan who else do you need? Dean Jones is annoying but when isn't he? Roddy was hysterical and so was Elsa. Karl held as the detective who could forget those stunning blue eyes? he looks like Grunberg. And of course about the only actress I can tolerate Iris Adrian. Good fun.
  • Funny, probably the most I've laughed at a Disney film so far.

    'That Darn Cat!' is an entertaining production. The premise, whilst not incredibly executed, is amusing and very watchable. Cast-wise it's terrific, Hayley Mills and Dean Jones certainly raise everyone else up but all the characters are astutely cast. DC the cat is adorable, too.

    Mills plays Patti while Jones portrays Kelso. They both work very well together, I enjoyed both performances. Ed Wynn has, like in 'Those Calloways', a good short showing. No others stand out per se, but they all bring little things to their respective roles.

    I do wish they would've done more with the villains though, given they were nicely cast. What they give is decent, but they definitely could've played a bigger part. The film probably runs 10-15 minutes too long also.

    You should watch this if you get the opportunity, it makes for fun viewing.
  • J. Edgar Hoover must have been put out by That Darn Cat. He must have had a few words with Walt Disney producing a film that made his FBI agents look like idiots. That was one big no-no when Hoover was alive even an innocuous Disney film.

    I also could not figure out why bank robbers Neville Brand and Frank Gorshin took bank teller Grayson Hall hostage. I would think that would slow up a planned getaway. But on one of his nocturnal prowlings the cat owned by sisters Dorothy Provine and Hayley Mills wanders into the boardinghouse of Iris Adrian where Brand and Gorshin are keeping Hall. Hall slips her wristwatch on the cat in place of a flea collar. She takes it back to home and hearth and Hayley who gets on the case like Nancy Drew.

    Mills takes it to the FBI who assigns agent Dean Jones to lead a team to get back the stolen loot, the crooks, and Hall. Needless to say they make a botch of it at first. Mills's brain dead boyfriend Tom Lowell gets caught up, nosy neighbor Elsa Lanchester gets involved against the advice of her husband William Demarest and finally another neighbor Roddy McDowell has threatened to shoot the cat on sight for stealing his dinner.

    One thing about the Disney films starting in the 60s. They gave work to a lot of familiar character players you rarely got to see on the big screen any more. That cast list is reason enough to watch That Darn Cat. If that isn't enough add Ed Wynn in a funny bit as a jewelry store owner and Richard Deacon as a much put out drive-in theater manager.

    Not the greatest of Disney films, but should satisfy for good family entertainment.
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