"Writing about cats casts a shadow on the most illustrious names," wrote poet Phillip Larkin, and making movies about them has to be even less honorable. Despite all the upcoming animated cat projects (Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, and the Shrek spinoff Puss in Boots)  as live action movie actors, cats leave a lot to be desired. Photographers claim that their flat faces don't catch the light well, and the SPCA has stopped the old method of plying the beasts with a little ether to get them more in the mood for the camera. Still, as J.C Suares's book on Hollywood Cats shows, cats have done their share for pre-digital cinema. Suares' book is an excellent roundup of the furniture-shredding parasites including Milo from Milo and Otis (or was Otis the cat?); Don Corleone's pet tabby; Jones, the cat who has to go out just as the Alien is coming in, and Kim Novak trying (hopelessly) to out-sphinx a Siamese in the underrated Bell, Book and Candle).

As a Bond geek, my favorite is a shot of Telly Savalas' Blofeld staring into the eyes of his customary Persian. The uncredited still photographer caught both actors , the hairy and the bald, in unusually expressive moods. Likely the cat is thinking "Thy dawn, o master of the world, thy dawn" ... 37 years later, On Her Majesty's Secret Service is still the thinking-person's 007 movie, It's a film to recall, especially now that Eva Green is gallivanting around claiming that the new Casino Royale will represent the first time Bond falls in love.

categories Features, Cinematical