Release Date: November 4th, 1964 (New York City premiere)
Directed by: Douglas Heyes
Written by: Douglas Heyes, Whit Masterson
Music by: William Loose, Henry Mancini, Carl W. Stalling
Cast: Ann-Margret, John Forsythe, Ann Doran
Universal Pictures, 83 Minutes
“Why, David, I thought I’d never find you in ladies’ underwear.” – Saleslady
Kitten With a Whip was a movie made to bank off of the popularity of rising star Ann-Margret. However, it’s a pretty terrible film that feels like it was rushed out to strike while the iron was hot. Luckily for Ann-Margret, her career had some staying power, she wasn’t a flash in the pan and she’d go on to be in much better films.
As bad as this was though, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it got riffed on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Plus, it fits nicely with a lot of the other B-movie teen and beatnik flicks that they played a lot.
The story is about a politician (John Forsythe), whose wife is out of town. One night he comes home to discover Ann-Margret’s Jody hiding out. Jody gives some sob story and convinces the sad sap to help her out.
Soon after, juvenile delinquents show up and make his life a living hell, as his nice house becomes a beatnik party bunker. The politician is afraid of scandal, so he puts up with it. Also, at one point, Jody tells him that she’ll accuse him of rape if he gets the cops. Eventually, the beatnik punks get violent and the politician and Jody flee to Mexico with the delinquents on their tail.
Honestly, the plot is a bit nuts but it does tap into some film-noir tropes while clearly trying to be more like the youth movies of the day.
This isn’t particularly well made, despite having good stars and being made by Universal.
Ultimately, this did showcase Ann-Marget’s dramatic side where her previous films were musicals. So in some way, I’m sure this helped her career more than it hurt it.
This is pretty forgettable though.
Pairs well with: other Ann-Margret movies or other beatnik films featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.