THE FAT BLACK PUSSYCAT (1963) – The Dungeon Review!
Harold Lea’s The Fat Black Pussycat begins with the murder of a young woman we soon learn is Edie Eichorn. Her naked body lay lifeless beside the film’s credits.
Detectives David Ewing Walsh and Ed Bono begin their investigation into the death of Edie Eichorn at The Fat Black Pussycat Cafe and Theatre on account of finding a matchbook for the establishment on the victim.
The detectives question the patrons about Edie and a dame named Jean agrees to take Walsh to a party that Edie may have attended the night before.
At the party we meet Albert who may have been the last person to see Edie alive. Albert is a bit of a drinker and has to be aggressively prodded to wake up.
“Who are you?” -Albert
“David Ewing Walsh.” -Detective
“You look it man.” -Albert
That cracked me up! Crazy drunk beatnik. Albert also thought he was seeing big green spiders with fangs.
Walsh meets Ellie who hits on him and asks if he is a virgin. Ellie is not much help.
This beatnik couple die horrible but quick deaths!
“Nothing personal baby but I think I’m going to puke.”
“Don’t throw up in here, it’s my bedroom.”
The kitty cat hanging out between the two corpses shows up at every scene. This cat has E.S.P. No really. The cat seriously has E.S.P.
Detective Walsh stumbles upon a briefcase but is knocked out in an impromptu fight. In the meantime someone has rigged the case to explode!
When the detective wakes up he is on the couch in the apartment of Janet Lyne. Janet had attended the party where the detective accidentally bumped into her several times and chased her out of the bathroom. The incidents were all completely coincidental but were irritating just the same. It was not a good start for Janet and David’s relationship. Janet Lyne is an anthropologist and teacher who is currently studying beatnik culture.
“How about a refill?” -Detective David Ewing Walsh
“How about leaving?” -Janet Lyne
Chief of Detectives Roy Diamond and his black pussycat.
Detectives Walsh and Bono run into the Police Commissioner with two beatnik broads at a bar.
The two detectives are almost poisoned but an irritating poet inadvertently intervenes.
Walsh takes Janet Lyne for dinner and she gets very drunk. She also does not seem to be a jazz fan.
Two victims and more to come!
Janet ends a second date with David after things get heated but she gets a fright and her scream has him running back to her.
The police are closing in on the murderer! Who could it be?
Follow that cat! Did I mention that the cat has E.S.P.? That is why it is always at the scene of the murder! Apparently the brainwaves of a schizophrenic can be picked up by felines. Of course. Makes sense.
The cat has come to the home of these two lovely ladies.
Chief of Detectives Roy Diamond discusses the case on television.
“Well Chief, what are the probabilities of this happening again?”
“Oh, an educated guess would be, once in five hundred million times.”
It was a pussy triple feature this weekend with The Pink Pussy: Where Sin Lives, The Black Cat and The Fat Black Pussycat! I enjoyed them all but The Fat Black Pussycat was definitely my favourite. I am a sucker for beatniks and while I love several of the poets and writers I do also enjoy the open mocking of the culture! The Fat Black Pussycat is not listed as a comedy but it is very clear that director Harold Lea was poking fun. I laughed many times through the film. I loved one chick’s response to the detective “I thought you looked a little fuzzy.” There is all sorts of lingo from the culture used. At one point Detective Bono poses as a poet and is cornered into reading some of his “poetry”. He improvises by reading some citations. I haven’t watched many horror films during this feature so that also made The Fat Black Pussycat a particular treat. There is a relatively significant body count and a few of the deaths were quite well-executed. It is fairly graphic for a film from 1963. The beatnik couple’s death is especially over the top. The mystery is a two-parter and is an awful lot of fun; I really dug the crazy “twist” daddy-o! The performances are a scream. I really enjoyed Detective Walsh and his cheeky sense of humour. The chemistry between the Detective and Janet is charming and hilariously awkward. Janet is a peculiar character and reminded me a little of Madeline Kahn for a reason I can’t quite put my finger on. Was it her voice? Was it her appearance? I am not really sure but Kahn kept popping into my head. I also got a kick out of Walsh’s interaction with partner Ed Bono. The young beatnik types add a ton of humour and mostly give relaxed, amiable or at least funny performances. Chief of Detectives Roy Diamond had a very odd delivery but hilariously so and his interaction with the Police Commissioner is priceless! The conversation about the schizophrenic and his brainwaves is not to be missed! What prevents me from giving The Fat Black Pussycat perfect marks is some awkward pacing. The segue from scene to scene was very bumpy at times and it could have used a bit more editing in certain sections. Detective Walsh and Janet’s first date felt long; I wonder if Harold Lea was friends with the four piece jazz band featured in this segment as they get too much focus. I enjoyed the music, but it should have been in the background and more attention should have been paid to Janet getting drunk. Speaking of which, the film has a great soundtrack! I enjoyed the hell out of The Fat Black Pussycat and recommend it highly!
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: Harold Lea
Starring: Frank Jamus, Janet Damon, Patricia McNair, Hugh Romney, Hyman Augenstein, Jeffrey Bond, Manny Dworman, Hector Elizondo, Fiore, Leonard Frey, Lynn Gregory
As an added bonus I have included a selection of deleted scene images from the Something Weird DVD double feature The Fat Black Pussy Cat and The Black Cat. The special features were a particular treat on this disc. The supplemental features entitled Kitty Litter included the aforementioned deleted scenes, Kitty Cat trailers, A burlesque routine by Margie La Mont “The Cat Girl” and a gallery of horror drive-in exploitation art with horrorama radio spot rarities. Even the pre-film restricted warning featured frolicking kittens!
A selection of Deleted Scenes from The Fat Black Pussycat that I would have left in…
This woman was cut out of the film altogether but she shows up in two deleted scenes. Apparently she is a co-worker of Janet Lyne’s at the University. A shame they cut out this broad, she was amusing.
I wonder why they cut out this stalking scene? It was a great looking scene actually and pretty intense. It was better than a couple they left in.
This is an extension of a scene where they enter the apartment of a character they believe has been committing the crimes. It is simple enough but I like the way it is shot through the closet so you can see the two cops and the women’s shoes.
For even more images from The Fat Black Pussycat click here.