Kitten with a Whip

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Kitten with a Whip
Kitten with a Whip.jpg
theatrical release poster
Directed byDouglas Heyes
Produced byHarry Keller
Written byDouglas Heyes
Whit Masterson
John Forsythe
Music byWilliam Loose
Henry Mancini
Carl W. Stalling
CinematographyJoseph F. Biroc
Edited byRussell F. Schoengarth
Release date
  • November 4, 1964 (1964-11-04) (U.S.)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States

Kitten with a Whip is a 1964 crime drama with an exploitative, juvenile delinquent overlay. Released through Universal, the film starred John Forsythe and newcomer Ann-Margret, and featured Peter Brown, Patricia Barry and Richard Anderson.

The film was made to publicize Ann-Margret as a serious actress. Her previous films, Viva Las Vegas and Bye Bye Birdie, were of the musical film genre and did little to highlight the actress's dramatic skills. Ann-Margret's management signed her to several different films at this time, each with a top Hollywood studio, and the actress was not consulted on the projects they chose for her. In interviews, she made the best of the situation, claiming she was hoping to distance herself from her "new Marilyn Monroe" image.


The wife of politician David Stratton (John Forsythe) is away in San Francisco, visiting relatives there. Stratton comes home one night but not to an empty house—a young woman, Jody (Ann-Margret), is waiting inside.

Jody tells him a tale of woe, so David offers to help. But the truth is, she has just busted out of a juvenile detention home, where she stabbed a matron and started a fire. And she is far from alone, because two young men suddenly materialize to torment David, who is afraid of a public scandal that could end his career. If he tries to get away and contact the cops, Jody threatens to accuse David of rape. The young men and Jody enjoy a wild party, but also begin to quarrel until one is cut with a razor. They drive across the Mexico border, taking David along.

Jody and David elude them and end up in a Tijuana motel. When the punks return, a chase occurs and their car crashes, killing both of the young men. Jody, too, ends up at death's door, but absolves David of any blame before dying. David is seriously injured in the accident and is hospitalized as the movie comes to an end.



The film was based on a novel by Wade Miller (real name Billy Miller, died 1961). Universal bought the film rights in 1959 and assigned Robert Arthur to produce.[1] The following year Richard Rush was reportedly developing the project.[2] Nancy Kwan was assigned to star.[3] However the film did not eventuate.

The lead role was originally offered to Brigitte Bardot but she turned it down.[4] In October 1963 Ann Margret was announced as star.[5] She was paid $150,000 plus a percentage of the profits.[6]

Filming started in December 1963. Douglas Heyes was writer and director.[7] Harry Keller was the producer.[8]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In 1994, Kitten With a Whip was aired as an episode of the comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000, which riffed the film.
  • Kevin Killian's book of poetry "Action Kylie" features "Kitten With A Whipe," a poem inspired by the film and featuring its two main characters.
  • Drag performer Bob the Drag Queen was originally known as "Kittin Withawhip." [9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NEW FRENCH FILM WILL OPEN TODAY. (1959, Nov 16). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  2. ^ Prepares 'kitten'. (1960, Mar 24). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  3. ^ Hopper, H. (1961, Oct 09). Story of newlyweds, 18 children to be a movie. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  4. ^ Films for Children Urged by Radnitz: They're Next Fans, He Says; De Mille 'Thrills' Recalled Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 14 Oct 1963: D9.
  5. ^ Hopper, H. (1963, Oct 28). 'Tom jones' bonanza for star, director. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  6. ^ Scheuer, P. K. (1963, Oct 14). Films for children urged by radnitz. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  7. ^ By MURRAY SCHUMACH Special to The New York Times. (1964, Jan 31). DIRECTOR ASSAILS 'HICCUPING' FILMS. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  8. ^ Scheuer, P. K. (1964, Sep 21). Director typing hit by producer. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  9. ^

External links[edit]