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RONNIE SCHELL VOICES DISNEY'S 'THE CAT FROM OUTER SPACE'

Marlon Brando of Felines
THE CAT FROM OUTER SPACE: Domestic cats seem like they're from outer space to begin with; with haughty mannerisms alone they're merely looking down on we mortal humans. So having a cat be from a more intelligent highly developed planet isn't much of a stretch.

"You left MASH. I'm richer!"
The tabby hero in this averagely entertaining live-action seventies' Disney film merely has to act like a domestic house cat to seem like a highly intelligent Being, and with the aid of a collar full of lights that glows when it's allowing humans to fly or horses to win races, it's easy to see how the cat, nicknamed Jake, is feeling.

The Ship
And for the most part, Jake (voiced by Ronnie Schell), is better than the film itself, which isn't too bad but kind of meanders along at times. The first half set-up as Jake adapts to Earth... following his would-be master behind Top Secret Military meetings (it was a UFO landing, after all)... fares much better than the last act as our heroes outwit government agents; these scenes are far too busy compared to when the Cat very simply helps his master, Ken Berry, the backup Disney man when their own Jimmy Stewart, Dean Jones, wasn't available.

The Cat
One scene when Berry plays an important game of pool against mobsters, especially rooted for by Stevenson's gambling nut and aided by the cat's powers to make the balls go right inside the right holes, is a standout, despite an annoying Sandy Duncan as a forced love interest. Then, in the usual Disney "What goes right will get equally screwed up" occurs. All leading to a somewhat sluggish aerial chase led by an unconvincing villain in the otherwise great actor Roddy McDowell, taking away from the feline that matters, so well trained and who would, nowadays, be 100% CGI. Therefore, mucho props must be given to the on-set trainer, because if anyone's ever tried to train a cat... it's tougher than winning an argument with a woman i.e. downright impossible!

RATING: ***1/2  
TRIVIA: Perhaps this is the only motion picture where both leaders of the TV show phenom M*A*S*H, McLean Stevenson (Henry Blake) as a flakey, gambling addict friend of Ken Berry, and Harry Morgan (Col Blake), as an uptight Military man, appear together • Ronnie Schell personally told yours truly that they gave him a cameo, so not only does he provide Jake's voice (Ronnie has one of the most recognizable movies in the biz), but he's an Army Intelligence man as well. This gave him a better paycheck overall. At the same time, a hyperactive Schell was begging to get a note passed on to Vicki Lawrence, which never occurred. Boy those shows are bizarre sometimes...
KEN BERRY and THE CAT FROM OUTER SPACE and here's a REVIEW OF GUS...
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