Crime, Spy

The Cat Burglar (1961)

Comments Off on The Cat Burglar (1961) 04 November 2012

The Cat Burglar coverStudio: MGM

Theatrical Release: July 1961

DVD-R Release: July 3rd, 2012

Rating: Unrated

Directed by William Witney

Review by Craig Sorensen


Perfectly sleazy low rent B-Noir, The Cat Burglar is no great trail blazer but it’s fun and fast (65 minutes fast) and gets the job done.  The plot may seem overly familiar (even if it wasn’t a blatant rip-off of Pickup on South Street) but it lays on the noir cliche’s so thick that it’s hard not to have a good time.

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Jack Hogan (Combat!) plays Jack Coley, Cat Burglar!  While skulking around L.A. apartment buildings in the middle of the night, he sneaks into Nan Baker’s (June Kenny of Attack of the Puppet People) apartment and makes off with her purse and a briefcase.  Jack returns to his shitty one room apartment to look over the goods to find not much of anything, Just a cheap necklace a bunch of papers with what appear to be schematics of some sort.  When Nan discovers that her things are missing she calls her businessman lover Alan (John Baer of Night of the Blood Beast).  He tells her not to call the cops and of course she blindly does what he tells her.  What she doesn’t know is that Alan is part of some nefarious spy ring and they want those papers toot sweet.

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The plot is, I suppose, intentionally vague.  You never find out what the plans Jack finds are for and you never find out what political affiliation the spy ring aligns with.  The film seems more interested in the sleazy underworld atmosphere that Jack inhabits.  And the film thankfully fills that underworld with some great character actors.  You get a lot of color out of Bruno VeSota (Invasion of the Star Creatures and The Haunted Palace), Gene Roth (Twice Told Tales, Earth vs. The Spider), Will J. White (The Twilight Zone, The Munsters) and Billie Bird (Sixteen Candles, One Crazy Summer).  Other than a good cast and decent atmosphere there isn’t a whole lot to latch onto here.  It’s pretty standard B-movie stuff.  Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.  I was certainly entertained and the film is short enough that it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.

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The Cat Burglar looks good on MGM’s recent DVD-R.  Black levels seem pretty good here and there’s some decent contrast to the black & white image.  Damage is pretty minimal for the most part.  There’s some but it’s not too distracting.  The film is presented in a 1.33:1 ratio that seems a little too spacious.  You could probably zoom the image in to 1.66:1 and have something close to it’s original theatrical aspect ratio.  The only audio option is a Dolby Digital Mono track and it sounds perfectly fine for what it is.  There are no extra features at all.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

- who has written 151 posts on UnRated Film Review Magazine | Movie Reviews, Interviews.

Craig hails from 'Parts Unknown'.

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