Author(s): Gareth Abbott, Simon Crocker
"There is a saying that you never really own a cat, rather the cat owns you. If that really is the case then we should be grateful that they allowed themselves to be photographed at all, for they are just as much the stars of the show as their human counterparts" from the introduction There were an impressive number of animal stars during the golden age of film; not just cats, but also dogs, lions, monkeys, elephants and any number of other species that could find a part to play. With studio contracts and the potential to earn sums equal to that of their human co-stars was it any wonder that animals (and their trainers) were ever present. Cats, however, had something of a unique place within this menagerie of animals. Some, like the young cat that sits on Marlon Brando's knee in a scene from The Godfather found themselves a place in cinema history, but most simply lived out their lives within the confines of the lots untroubled by dreams of stardom. Hollywood Cats showcases an incredible selection of photographs, taken during the golden age of Hollywood, of stars with their cats, celebrating and documenting this special relationship. Both Carole Lombard and Greer Garson manage to look even more sultry draped alongside their feline friends; photographs of madcap duo Laurel and Hardy playing with a kitten are both comical and endearing. Perhaps the most famous - and arguably the most important of all Hollywood cats is the MGM lion, Leo, who appeared (and still appears) on every MGM movie.