GenreComedy Music directorAlfred Newman WriterSam Taylor, Clarence Budington Kelland LanguageEnglish
Release dateJuly 30, 1934 (1934-07-30) WriterClarence Budington Kelland (story), Sam Taylor (screen play) CastHarold Lloyd, Una Merkel, George Barbier Similar moviesRelated Sam Taylor movies
Ezekiel Cobb (Harold Lloyd) is a sheltered young man who had a missionary upbringing in Asia. When he goes back to America, he unwittingly becomes a dupe for crooked politicians who recruit him, intending him to be a losing candidate in a fixed election. However, when he unexpectedly becomes mayor, he embarks on a program to root out corruption. The politicians try to intimidate him into submission, but he recruits the local Chinese community to lend a hand.
The Cat’s-Paw (1934) is a comedy film starring Harold Lloyd and directed by Sam Taylor. It was one of the great silent film comedian’s few sound films.
The Cat’s Paw, a novel by Clarence Budington Kelland, had appeared in the Saturday Evening Post from August 26-September 30, 1933, when Lloyd read it, and decided to buy the rights to it for $25,000.
Ezekiel Cobb, a naive young man raised by missionaries in China, is sent to the United States to seek a wife. He is promptly enlisted by the corrupt political machine of the fictional city of Stockport, led by the corrupt boss Jake Mayo (George Barbier) to run for mayor as phony "reform" politician. He is expected to be the "cats paw" of the political machine.
Cobb unexpectedly takes his job seriously. Frequently quoting Chinese poet “Ling Po” (an apparent mispronunciation of Li Po), he embarks on a campaign to clean his town of its corrupt political machine.
Fighting back, the corrupt politicians frame Cobb. He turns the table on them, however, by enlisting the help of his friends in the local Chinese community, who help him kidnap the corrupt politicians and their hoodlum backers, detaining them in the "cellar of Tien Wang." He tells them that since his attempts to use western methods has not worked, he is going to use the methods of the ancient Chinese: either they confess or they will be executed.
They take a man into a back room – everyone says it’s a bluff, but then the man screams in terror and a moment later his decapitated body is brought out with his head set on top of his chest. When the second man is taken to the back room, it is shown that Cobb has enlisted the help of The Great Chang a famous Chinese magician on his first American tour, and that they are using his tricks to fake the executions.
This tactic works, and Mayo decides to throw his support to Cobb after all. The town is swept of its corruption and Cobb, with the support of local girl Petunia Pratt (Una Merkel), abandons plans to return to China and stays in the U.S. to fight corruption in his town. But his new wife insists on him returning to China.
Harold Lloyd - Ezekiel Cobb
Una Merkel - Pet Pratt
George Barbier - Jake Mayo
Nat Pendleton - Strozzi
Grace Bradley - Dolores Doce
Alan Dinehart - Mayor Ed Morgan
Grant Mitchell - Silk Hat McGee
E. Alyn Warren - Tien Wang (as Fred Warren)
Warren Hymer - Spike Slattery
J. Farrell MacDonald - Shigley (as J. Farrell Macdonald)