Thursday, April 22, 2010

Canon MST3K Review: Kitten With a Whip

So, I got home from work this morning, and I decided, what better way to recover from a hard day of labor than to watch a bad movie mocked by a man and two robots? Well, I couldn't think of anything else, so I watched the Mystery Science Theater episode of Kitten With a Whip. This movie, made in 1964, stars Ann-Margret and the late John Forsythe. The plot starts simple enough, as Ann-Margret is a juvenile delinquet running from the law in San Diego, and sneaks into a US Senate candidate's house while he's not home. The candidate, played by Forsythe, finds her in his daughter's bed (who, btw, is conveniently on vacation along with the man's wife). The man takes pity on the runaway and tries to assist her by buying her clothes and giving her enough money for a bus ride to LA. But Ann-Margret, or rather her character Jodi, decides to come back to the man's house to antagonize him because she's mad at the world or something, I'm not exactly sure. Unlike many of the movies featured on MST3K, this movie had some elements of a good movie, but ultimately the movie was just too over the top to be considered a quality film. A few notes from this flick.

 - John Forsythe's character, David Stratton, makes at least 12 major lapses of judgment in the movie. I mean, every time you think this man couldn't get any dumber, he manages to surprise you by making an even dumber move. It doesn't help that most of the film he acts in a bland, emotionless manner. Then again, I guess there wouldn't be much of a movie if he had just done the smart thing and call the cops once he discovered her in her house.

- Jodi seems to have a lot of mental problems. Her moods changes as quick as a hiccup, she seemingly is willing to make anyone with any sympathy towards her hate her, and most of the movie she's either pitying herself or lashing out at the world around her. At the least, she's bipolar. Because of the way the character is written, you have a big contrast between the laid-back acting of Forsythe and the manic, almost overacting of Ann-Margret.

- The main reason why David doesn't call the cops is because Jodi threatens to charge him with rape and assault. So he does what he's best at and does nothing. However, considering that he's a pillar of the community and she's a delinquent on the run after stabbing someone and setting fire to a house, I think the police would buy Stratton's story over Jodi's, considering the circumstances. But if he had called the cops, I guess the movie would last 25 minutes instead of 90, so here we are.

- Both Mr. Stratton and Jodi do have something in common, a tendency to befriend annoying people. David's friends in this movie are a sycophant named Grant whose as dry as, um, drywall, and a annoying woman named Peggy. Peggy is David's wife sister and spends the few minutes she has on screen either ordering around servants or interrogating people like she's Columbo with prying questions. With every word she said, Peggy became more and more annoying. But these two are a treat compared to Jodi's friends, which deserve a paragraph of their own.

- So Jodi decides that she wants a party, and decides to call up a few of her friends while David is trying to get rid of Grant and Ms. Sipowicz. The three people she calls friends are Midge, who's as dumb as a doornail but seems to be nice enough, Buck, a young man driven by rage, and Ron, a wanna-be philosopher and college graduate who looks like he's thirty and dresses like the late Payne Stewart. After about five words from Ron's mouth, you wanted him and his ham-fisted attempts at being deep to go away as quickly as possible. How Jody made friends with a rageaholic who she obviously despises and a wanna-be philosophical guru is beyond me. At least Ron gets stabbed in the arm with a razor. Normally I don't wish for violence, but I wasn't exactly broken up when Buck stupidly swung an old razor and accidentaly stabbed Ron in the arm. This also allowed Ron to say the best line in the movie "I'm dying in a rush".

- One of the more curious things about this movie is the hip lingo the young people and the 30 year old college graduate use. For example, if things are good, they are "creamy" or "shiny good". Jodi describes David at one point as thinking he's a "smoky somethin' when you're nothing painted blue". I'm not sure what exactly that means, but whatever.

- I know it's silly to bring this up, but if I were running from the law and had the fortune of getting some help from a stranger whose house I broke into, the last thing I would do is go back to that same house and torture the poor guy that helped me in the first place. I think I would keep running, but maybe that's just me. Then again, if anybody in this movie had done anything that made sense, than there wouldn't be a movie at all.

This movie could have been decent, I suppose, but it fell short. The acting was either over the top or non-existent, most of the characters were annoying and unsympathetic, and the plot was so convoluted that in order to keep the movie going, they had to make David Stratton look like the dumbest man ever. Not to mention that the ending is so pat and cliche' that it adds to the unbelievability of it even more. However, this movie is easy to mock, and the MST3K guys do that quite well. So while the movie isn't good (it's also not terrible, it just isn't good is all) the episode was quite enjoyable. I'd give the movie a 3.4 out of 10 and the episode a 7.2.

Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any ideas for future reviews, than either leave me a comment or send me an e-mail at

No comments:

Post a Comment