Cast & Crew
After knifing a matron and setting fire to the girls' quarters of a detention home, young Jody Dvorak breaks into the house of political aspirant David Stratton, who is out for the evening while his estranged wife is in San Francisco. When David returns home and finds Jody there, she resorts to lies, threats, and deceptions to prevent him from calling the police. He gives her money for new clothes and a ticket to Los Angeles, but she returns and threatens to ruin his political career if he doesn't allow three of her friends to stay at the house. During a wild drinking party, a delinquent named Ron is slashed with a razor by Buck, a muscular beach bum, and Jody forces David to drive the injured man to a doctor in Tijuana. Jody quarrels with Buck, dumps him from the car, drops off Ron, and then makes David rent a motel room so that she can hide from her two desperate companions. David runs into some politically influential acquaintances but manages to avoid arousing their suspicions. Before he can get away from the motel, however, Buck and Ron reappear, and the former beats him into unconsciousness. Jody gets David into the car and races off as the two bullies take pursuit. Their cars crash and burst into flames, taking the lives of the three young people. While recuperating in a hospital, David learns that Jody's deathbed statement did not implicate him in any way.
Mildred Von Hollen
John P. Austin
John Mccarthy Jr.
Terry Morse Jr.
James T. Porter
Russell F. Schoengarth
Sam Van Zanten
Waldon O. Watson
Frank H. Wilkinson
The Gist (Kitten With a Whip) - THE GIST
Left to his own devices for the weekend, married San Diego businessman David Stratton (John Forsythe) finds his quiet weekend interrupted when wild teenager Jody (Ann-Margret) sneaks into his house at night and, clad only in a nightgown, decides to spend a night in one of his vacant beds. David interrupts her and at first falls for her sob story about being a traumatized kid on the run, but as he attempts to give her some help, Jody proves to be far more unstable than he suspected. Threatening cries of rape, she quickly browbeats David into submission as he begins to wonder whether his senatorial aspirations might be in jeopardy. Things get even worse when a newscast reveals Jody's true origins, and then three of her cohorts Ron (Peter Brown), Midge (Diane Sayer), and Buck (Skip Ward) crash the party for a night David will never forget.
Swedish-born star Ann-Margret had only been acting in feature films for three years when she made Kitten with a Whip but had already established herself as the most vivacious entertainer of her generation, having made a splash in George Sidney's stylish Bye Bye Birdie (1963) after promising turns in Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles (1961) and a wildly uneven remake of State Fair (1962). Aided by multi-talented veterans like George Burns, Danny Thomas, and Dean Martin, she became a media sensation instantly with the release of five albums and instant pop culture immortality as "Ann-Margrock" on The Flintstones. 1964 saw the release of two more Ann-Margret films, The Pleasure Seekers and her electric turn in Viva Las Vegas, which continued to confirm her status as a sex symbol backed up by substantial talent.
However, Kitten sharply diverges from its star's other films to that time by trading out her signature red-haired mane for a bleach-blonde coiffure (perhaps because this was her first black-and-white feature), casting her as a semi-villain, and giving her no musical numbers whatsoever. In turn, Ann-Margret turned up the dramatics with a fiery performance that veers from touching sincerity to wild-eyed camp; her "I'll be a celebrity!" monologue justifiably became a centerpiece of a popular video club mix created for her by underground video sensation Dan-o-Rama. More unexpectedly, this also became the only Ann-Margret film to be turned into an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a treatment that, as with other rewarding films like Danger: Diabolik (1968) and Devil Doll (1964), led to a steep drop in its critical reputation (not to mention IMDB user ratings).
Though Ann-Margret easily dominates the entire film, her co-stars are considerably more accomplished than usual for an exploitative B-movie. John Forsythe was established as a likeable everyman personality thanks to steady work in film and TV since the late 1940s (including Alfred Hitchcock's The Trouble with Harry ), most pointedly having just finished a five-year run as the star of the then-popular series Bachelor Father, of which this film almost seems a cunning satire. Of course, he went on to immortality both as the star of the definitive '80s glamour nighttime soap, Dynasty, and one of the world's most recognizable disembodied voices on Charlie's Angels. His equally "square" neighbors are played by veteran performers Patricia Barry (a familiar face best remembered for The Beast with Five Fingers (1946) and numerous episodes of the seminal horror series Thriller including "A Wig for Miss Devore") and Richard Anderson, fondly remembered as TV's Oscar Goldman from The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman.
Of the other delinquents, hep-cat ringleader Peter Brown had the most notable career both before and after, having already starred in the hit western series Lawman (which ran from 1958 to 1962) with another western show, Laredo, to follow in 1965. Oddly enough, in 1963 he also appeared in an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, "Forecast: Low Clouds and Coastal Fog," whose home invasion nocturnal nightmare feels like a dry run for this particular film. Never out of work and still busy, Brown also obtained permanent cult status as the male villain in 1974's Foxy Brown which climaxes with him suffering a fate never forgotten by any male viewers.
Much of the cult appeal of Kitten with a Whip can be attributed to the unusual approach of writer/director Douglas Heyes, a veteran TV director here making his feature film debut. Heyes' television work had been primarily distinguished by a stylistically extreme, "waking nightmare" ambience found in his groundbreaking, noir-inspired work on The Twilight Zone (particularly the episodes "Eye of the Beholder," "The Invaders," "The After Hours," and "The Howling Man") and Universal's Thriller (especially "The Hungry Glass" and an episode also pairing Kitten actors Patricia Barry and Richard Anderson, "The Purple Room"). His skillful manipulation of light and shadow coupled with unpredictable bursts of melodrama gives Kitten an off-kilter personality right from the memorable opening credits (with Ann-Margret fleeing through the darkness in her white undergarments) as her character seems to shift emotional gears every ten minutes for reasons only vaguely delineated by the script. The ambivalent approach to her character never does quite resolve itself as she swerves from misunderstood victim to heartless, scheming she-devil at least a dozen times, with the film itself seeming to embrace and recoil from her just as randomly. However, this erratic portrayal works best when the entire film is taken as a darkly comic, illogical assault on its straitlaced protagonist who represents a bourgeoisie under attack for the simple crime of existing.
Producer: Harry Keller
Director: Douglas Heyes
Screenplay: Douglas Heyes; Wade Miller (novel)
Cinematography: Joseph Biroc
Art Direction: Malcolm Brown, Alexander Golitzen
Music: Joseph Gershenson
Film Editing: Russell F. Schoengarth
Cast: Ann-Margret (Jody Dvorak), John Forsythe (David Stratton), Peter Brown (Ron), Patricia Barry (Vera), Richard Anderson (Grant), James Ward (Buck Vogel), Diane Sayer (Midge), Ann Doran (Mavis Varden), Patrick Whyte (Phillip Varden), Audrey Dalton (Virginia Stratton), Leo Gordon (Sgt. Enders), Patricia Tiara (Striptease Dancer), Nora Marlowe (Clara), Frances Robinson (Martha).
by Nathaniel Thompson
The Gist (Kitten With a Whip) - THE GIST
Why, David, I thought I'd never find you in ladies' underwear.- Saleslady
"Why do you think you're such a smoky somethin' when you're nothin' painted blue?!?!"- Jody
Released in United States 1964
Released in United States 1964