Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. This week, we have a salute to three feline references in the movies.
I belong to an online group of people in my neighborhood, which puts forth a daily email blast of my neighbors’ concerns. Sometimes the information shared is helpful, and sometimes it’s just plain ridiculous. Recently, a message came across the computer screen that someone was selling three cats – or, at least, wanting to sell them. Seriously, I have never heard of anyone actually getting money for house cats. It has been my experience that people generally pay money to pawn off cats on someone else who has never had the pleasure of feline ownership. Writing this paragraph has made me want to watch movies and drink, not necessarily in that order. Let’s see what all the fuss is about, shall we?
The country bumpkin who went to Broadway to see Cats and was disappointed because there “wadn’t no cats – jus’ people dressed up like cats” – he would probably hate 1964’s Kitten With a Whip. The kitten in question is sex-kitten Ann-Margaret, who knows just how much trouble she can cause for politician John Forsythe. She is in his house when he returns from a trip. She invites a couple of young toughs over and they all go to Mexico. It’s the kind of story that leaves one thinking, “how the hell did this happen? Did he not lock the door when he left? Were the cops not answering?” Critics of the day seemed puzzled by the ending – spoiler alert – in which Forsythe is the last one standing.
Sonoma County’s Barber Cellars had a Kitten With a Whip rosé just a couple of years ago, but it seems to have made a getaway. Dammit! On to beer, I suppose. Massachusetts brewery Brick and Feather makes a namesake lager for this film, in 16-ounce cans. It’s only 5% alcohol. Perfect for that road trip to Mexico.
The 1965 Russ Meyer sexploitation film, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! chronicles three SoCal club dancers who trade in their go-go boots for black leather and a life of crime, kidnapping and murder. The movie poster reads, “Superwomen! Belted, Buckled and Booted!” That ought to put some mid-’60s butts in the seats. Unfortunately, the film didn’t make much money or gain much critical praise at the time, although it has now become a cult classic.
The rock band Faster Pussycat took their name from this film. As luck would have it, they commissioned a wine in their honor, a blend of Arizona Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon called Body Thief, possibly another name for a kidnapper.
1972’s Fritz the Cat introduced sex, drugs and violence into the world of animation. The X-rated film sent notice that we weren’t in Disneyland anymore. The movie was Ralph Bakshi’s first outing as a director. He used R. Crumb’s underground cartoon cat as a bludgeon against the animation institutions of the day. His response to the many who told him, “You can’t do that in a cartoon” was something Fritz might say, but I won’t.
Fritz was made as a cartoon for adults. The old Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies shorts were made with adults in mind – smart, funny, sarcastic – but always with the idea that they had to be fit for consumption by kids. By the 1970s, cartoons were stripped of their adult appeal and dumbed down, as if kids weren’t fit for anything that was smart, funny and sarcastic. On the other end of the spectrum was Fritz. In many households the VHS for Fritz was probably tossed into dad’s porn box.
In 1972, you may have prepared for a trip to the movies to see Fritz the Cat by firing up a doobie and downing a bottle of Mateus. Here, we have the wine. You’re on your own for the rest. I don’t know anything about the winery Fritz de Katz except that it is in Mosel, Germany, where a lot of good Riesling is made. Cheers!