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Film / Kitten With a Whip

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Kitten with a Whip is a 1965 exploitation film starring Ann-Margret and John Forsythe.

Forsythe plays David Stratton, a candidate running for the U.S. Senate who finds that Jody, an escaped juvenile delinquent (Ann-Margret) broke into his house while he was away. A combination of crocodile tears followed by extortion ends up with him trying to keep Jody both in his house and away from the press, the police and his family. Things get worse when Jody's gang of friends shows up, and before he knows it he's held hostage taking a wounded man to Tijuana for off-the-record medical treatment. Where do Jody's sympathies really lie? And how is David going to keep all of this from ruining his campaign?

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.


Kitten with a Whip contains the following tropes:

  • Artistic License – Medicine: Ron rapidly nearly bleeds to death from a straight razor cut in his upper triceps.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Stratton is in the clear and won't be faced with a scandal over the events of the past few days, and Jody saves his life after Buck beats him nearly to death. However Jody herself succumbs to injuries she sustained in the car accident when Buck runs them off the road, and only manages to clear Stratton with her dying breaths.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Jody tells Stratton that if he calls the police on her, she'll accuse him of rape — or, at the very least, claim to be his mistress, threatening both his home life and his career. "I'll be a celebrity! And SO WILL YOU!"
    • Idiot Ball: Who would the authorities believe if she'd tried that, the respected local politician or the wanted violent fugitive with a record for mental instability? And wouldn't "Local Politician Apprehends Dangerous Fugitive" be a great headline to propel him into the Senate?
  • Car Chase: The climax of the film, ending with "Rocks Fall, *Almost* Everybody Dies."
  • Advertisement:
  • Delinquents: Jody and her "friends."
  • Deus ex Machina: The Senate candidate is exonerated from even the risk of suspicion at the last moment, when Jody "explains" that he was an innocent in the ending car crash with her dying breath.
  • Dull Surprise: Stratton's facial expressions and vocal tone rarely change from "vaguely irritated."
  • Extreme Doormat:
    • The movie ends in a half-dozen places if Stratton grows a spine. Against Ron and Buck, at least, it's justifiable, since they're younger and stronger (and more numerous) than he note .
    • Also, Midge. Almost every line out of her mouth is either submissive to Buck or telling Jody how great she is.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Zig-zagged, but ultimately averted.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Jody takes a full bottle of booze to the back of Buck's skull to protect Stratton.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: It takes very little to set Buck off, and once he is you do not want to be in his path.
  • Honor Before Reason: Stratton refusing to tell Ron and Buck where Jody was hiding, putting himself (deeper) in harm's way, despite what Jody had done to all three of them.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Played with. At first, Ron tells them (and demonstrates when Buck punches him) that he feels no pain; later he gets gashed with a straight razor and calmly announces "I'm dyin' in a rush." However, as they try to drive him to an off-the-grid medic in Mexico, his bravado begins to crumble.
    Buck: Come on, buddy, 'no pain', 'no pain'!
    Ron: Sorry, buddy, not working! [takes a slug from a bottle]
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Jody (with a triple-helping of "manic").
  • Mood-Swinger: Jody, sometimes mid-sentence.
  • Moving the Goalposts: Every time Stratton gives in to Jody's demands, she just demands more, because she realizes that her threat of "cry rape" gives her unlimited power over him.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Even Jody doesn't seem to know which parts of her past were real and which ones she made up.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Jody has this attitude in her rare lucid moments, and genuinely seems distressed when Stratton confronts her over whey she would hurt him when all he'd done to that point was try to help her. Unfortunately her mood swings so radically it's hard to tell whether she's being genuine.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: An earnest desire to help a troubled youth lands Stratton in all sorts of trouble.
  • Psychotic Lover: Jody isn't his lover, but she certainly has the same impact on the plot. Mike and the Bots lampshade it with a Fatal Attraction reference or two.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Jody first tries to save Stratton from Ron and Buck, after the latter beats him within an inch of his life, and exonerates him after the fatal wreck by covering up his involvement in the wreck. She dies from injuries sustained in the crash before Stratton regains consciousness in the hospital.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Midge panics and takes off with her car after Ron is cut with Stratton's razor. Given how she'd been treated up to that point, it's probably the best thing she's ever done for herself, however it leaves Stratton at the mercy of Ron and Buck, and forced to take them to Tijuana himself.
  • Sexophone: Played throughout the movie.
    Crow: Is Johnny Hodges in the house?
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The Played for Drama scene of Jody returning to David's house even after he sent her away is hard to take seriously when the Looney Tunes short "Canned Feud" is playing (loudly) in the background on a TV.
    Mike: Carl Stalling's in his house!
  • Villain Protagonist: "Troubled" bad girl Jody.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Psychopathic Buck is willing to hit everybody, but his willingness to assault Jody pushes him well past the Moral Event Horizon.


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