His Master’s Voice

By Jane Fulcher

Cats are no strangers to the big screen – sometimes sultry, occasionally sinister and frequently iconic, they have made their mark in films from Breakfast At Tiffany’s to The Third Man and The Godfather.

And in cinemas at the moment the cat is back in The Voices, a horror comedy starring Ryan Reynolds. In this film, Reynolds plays small-town loser Jerry who murders his date after he stops taking his medication. We know he’s losing control not only by the blood on his hands and the head in his fridge, but also because of the in-depth conversations he keeps having with his dog, Bosco, and his cat, Mr Whiskers.

As is commonly seen, the animals are typecast – dog as good and cat as bad, an angel and devil reflection of Jerry’s subconscious as he decides what to do with his ex-date’s body. Mr Whiskers, who is adeptly played by a beautiful ginger tom, is both Jerry’s projection of his Machiavellian side and symbolic of a stereotyped idea of cats in general – careless, cold, calculating and on evil’s side. The cat as an external projection of Jerry’s evil is not an original idea – one only has to look at any literature relating to witches to see that – and unfortunately this predictability runs through the film which makes it a less interesting entry into the canon – if you can call it that – of talking cat films. At least Mr Whiskers has a brusque Scottish burr instead of a clipped nasal English or German accent one might expect for a feline villain.

Find out more about felines on film in Issue 2 of Puss Puss Magazine where we list the most iconic cats in cinema. Click here to buy.