23 December 2004 | jgepperson
I wish I could see the original release print!
This is not a great movie but it still fascinates 35 years later. It is obviously influenced by Hitchcock's "The Birds" but it also seems to be inspired by Curtis Harrington's excellent "Games" from a couple of years earlier. ("Games" is influenced by the French film "Diabolique." They both star Simone Signoret.) And, in fact, the closing shots of "Games" and "Eye of the Cat" are very similar, but that is not the only similarity. In "...Cat" Michael Sarrazin attempts a kind of decadence achieved by Signoret in "Games." And there is more: Sarrazin and Eleanor Parker and company play mind-games with one another, just like the "Games." I don't want to give away the implied perversities of either movie, but there are plenty, and they make both Universal Studios films worth watching. I also won't give away the most memorable suspense sequence, filmed in ersatz Hitchcock, subjective style. If you see the movie, you will spot it.
Sarrazin's brother is played by a handsome guy named Tim Henry who apparently never made another film. Gayle Hunnicut is gorgeous in her 1960s ensembles and big hair. Judy Garland's 4th husband, Mark Herron, appears briefly in a silent role - an upscale hairdresser - during the opening credits.
The cinematographer on the film was Russell Metty who photographed lots of Douglas Sirk movies and you can certainly see his style. The main set of the movie, the foyer of a large home with a winding staircase, is very much like the main set in Sirk's "Written on the Wind" and Metty uses the foyer's mirror and a vase of flowers in the same way as the earlier film. And even though "...Cat" is set in 1969, it has that distinctive, slick, Alexander Golitzen/Universal Studios look.
I have a tape of "Eye of the Cat" that I got on television 20 years ago. Unfortunately, it is the "revised" version, with some scenes missing and a couple of small moments seem to have been added. The original film is not available on commercial tape or DVD. Sure would be nice to be able to see it again.