Cat Chaser (1989) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

You can get excellent summaries of this film in Tuna's notes below, and from the TV Guide review linked below.

I don't want to talk about that, because the big story here is not what is on the DVD, but what isn't. This film started as a 180 minute X-rated film of an Elmore Leonard story, as directed by cinema bad boy Abel Ferrara, auteur of such timeless cinema masterpieces as Nine Lives of a Wet Pussy. The DVD ended up with only an R-rated 90 minute film, in 4:3 aspect ratio, with a mediocre transfer, and no features.

No features? What?

No director's cut? You mean Ferrara didn't want to present a director's cut? According to insiders, he has a private "rough cut" copy of the three hour version, which he screens for visitors now and then. According to IMDb, Ferrara has even lent it out on occasion. I, for one, would like to see an arty three hour porn film starring Kelly McGillis. Of course, I also would like to be the first to welcome our new arty pornographic overlords.

No commentary? You mean Ferrara didn't want to talk about how people took away his film? There were all sorts of juicy stories to share. To start with, Ferrara was having trouble adapting Elmore's novel to a script. In Ferrara’s original script, the first ten minutes consisted of two guys talking, and that scene was a verbatim transcription of the novel. He realized that such a scene can make for good exposition in a book, but gets audiences sleeping quickly in a theater. Ferrara wanted to make some changes, but wasn't sure what to do. His problems were complicated by his star, Peter Weller, who had script approval and didn't want any of Elmore's sharp dialogue altered. In desperation, Ferrara sent the script to Elmore himself, and asked him to help out with the first twenty pages. Elmore got the script and, being a typical author, re-wrote the entire thing. Ferrara got the script back and, being a typical director, didn't use what Elmore had written. 

At some point in the muddled process, the backers realized they weren't going to make a lot of money from Ferrara's arty, confusing, violent, slow, three hour porn flick, so they took control of the film from Ferrara, and cut it. The producer's version, which was only released theatrically in England, was 98 minutes long, and still included a daring scene in which Kelly McGillis spread her legs on camera. (This version was once available on VHS, but is now out of print. Here is a small capture from the controversial scene.)


Female: McGillis shows breasts in the sex scene with Weller, and then everything while her husband is harassing her at gunpoint to sign a new pre-nuptial agreement. In the x-rated version, she spreads her legs on camera (in a dark scene), so he can point the gun at her coochee.

Male: full frontal nudity from Tomas Milian.

DVD info from Amazon

  • no features

  • no widescreen

There were even more cuts made to produce a third version of the movie with an MPAA rating of "R". The additional cuts included the McGillis beaver shot, and most of a violent, bloody massacre of two naked men in a shower.

The most irritating thing about the final version is that so much of the essential narrative has been cut from the original version that they had to add a hollow-sounding voice-over narration to make the thing comprehensible. The narration is so obviously "tagged on" that the mysterious voice is not even a character in the film, but an omniscient literary narrator!

This could have been a major DVD, a contribution to cinema lore and scholarship. Instead, "it's got nuthin'". Not only is there no commentary and no director's cut, but they couldn't even come up with a widescreen version, or even with the deleted footage that resulted in the film's promotion or demotion from X to R.


Cat Chaser (1989) is one of those films that cappers have been waiting for on DVD due to the full frontal exposure from Kelly McGillis. Charlie tipped us that it was available on Region 2 PAL in France, and it finally cleared Homeland Defense and got to me today. Unfortunately, it is a rather weak 4/3 transfer with all of the nude scenes very dark, and a nasty moire problem through most of the running time. I seem to recall a spread legged shot of Kelly turning up somewhere, but it was not to be found on this DVD. I suspect there is another 90 seconds of material still not included.

A former Army ranger, a veteran of the Dominican Republic intervention (Peter Weller), is running his own hotel in Pompano Beach, Florida, when an ex-airborne colleague from the Dominican intervention checks in. He turns out to be a sort of private dick, working for a former Dominican general who was in charge of torture, and is now a major crook. El General is married to Kelly McGillis, who happens to be the woman most often in our hero's daydreams. Weller returns to the Dominican Republic to relive some memories, shake some ghosts, and try to find the rebel girl that once spared his life. McGillis shows up, and the two have a very hot sex scene in his motel room.

Upon their return to Pompano Beach, McGillis' husband has discovered her infidelity and wants out of his generous pre-nuptial agreemen, an ex-cop who works as an enforcer is plotting to kill El General and walk off with his secret stash of cash, and Weller ... well, he's just trying to win the fair maiden.

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this film is a D+. Tuna summarizes, "With a better transfer, I might have enjoyed it a little more, but the video quality was terrible, the characters were too one-dimensional, and the series of double-crosses was just not that engaging."

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