615. Kitten with a Whip (1964)

Storming to stardom, our film’s draw had cold feet. Peddling Ann-Margret to a couple of a studios, her management committed her to several projects to show off her dramatic side. Stemming from the popularity of Bye Bye Birdie (1963) and Viva Las Vegas (1964), Ann longed to shed her earlier image. Kitten with a Whip (1964), Bus Riley’s Back in Town (1965), Once a Thief (1965), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), Ann strayed to serious actress territory then reversed course. Greased Crow, Giant Mousetrap, Bionic Sound Effects, Kitten With A Whip, Hazing, Mexican Festival. “It’s a swinging world baby”, “It’s Universal. So it covers everything”, “Oh Anatomy of a Murder.” “I’m Keeping My Baby!!!” or “It’s Motel 6 from now on”?

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Kitten With A Whip.

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Hazing.

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Shave and A Haircut.

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Shopping For The Mistress.

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615 Stinger.

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Adam West intro to Kitten with a Whip (1964) on Turkey Day Marathon 94.

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Trailer to Kitten with a Whip (1964).

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John Sayles on Kitten with a Whip (1964).

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There’s something special about movies about teenagers written by middle-aged men which use very obvious “hello, fellow kids” slang.

I usually describe this one as a very bad movie with two very good actors.

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Back when I did an MST3K marathon in 2020, the continuous bombardment of mundane premise films in the sixth season was really wearing me down at this point. And this one where a delinquent who had escaped from juvenile hall and hides out at the home of a Senate candidate making his life a living hell is especially trying. Much of this has to do with how the two characters have no chemistry, with Ann-Margret being over the top and Forsythe being aggressively bland. Then there’s how his character gets a multitude of opportunities to extricate himself from the mess but blows each one. Now granted, the average person placed in an unusual and high-pressure situation like this won’t always think clearly and will be prone to making bad decisions. Still, it comes across as being done more for keeping the narrative from ending prematurely. This only serves to make the cop-out ending (where the delinquent has a change of heart and her dying words clear Forsythe’s character of any perceived wrongdoing) even more frustrating. Though I guess we should be thankful they didn’t go with the classic It Was All a Dream.

Also, I believe that filming a lovely strawberry blonde like Ann-Margret in black and white should be classified as a minor cinematic felony.

One point of interest is the appearance in the film of Jerry Dunphy, who was a prominent TV news anchor in the Southern California market at the time and often portrayed himself in several movies and TV shows of the day. He is alleged to be the template for the Pompous News Anchor archetype and is cited as the inspiration for Ted Baxter (of The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and Kent Brockman (of The Simpsons).

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It HAS actors in the leads. Something a MST experiment doesn’t always have.

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Writing a strong letter to the Times!

hamster GIF

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I had heard Kent Brockman was based on a different LA anchor of note, Hal Fishman of KTLA.

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I saw this movie on TV well before MST3K. I must have been at a delicate age because Ann-Margret ruined me for sane women.

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This one grew on me. Yes, the John Forsythe character is so incredibly stupid and inept, but this one tickles my fancy! Anne Margret is at her overacting best but she is beautiful. And I love Peter Brown’s mellow, deep thinking, hip character.

This became a go to episode for me at work. I don’t know why but just when this episode gets boring they go to Tijuana! It just fits for me when I’m at work late at night.

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Ugh. This movie infuriates me on multiple levels. The riffs are fine, but-- blecchh!!

I think I mentioned on another board that if they’d only gotten Shatner to play the candidate, at least we’d have stereo rather than mono scenery-chewing.

I kinda’ liked the prying neighbor/amateur detective. Would’ve rather watched a movie about her. Maybe she’d be trying to sort out all the intrigue but somehow Richard Anderson’s fixer character would always be one step ahead of her. For a while, anyway.

When I first watched this trash fire, several years after the show was canceled, my first thought was that some pandering clod was trying to do a trenchant commentary (or roman a clef) about Chappaquiddick. Thankfully, that’s impossible because the movie happened first. It still sucks eggs, though.

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