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The Owl and the Pussycat (1970)

PG | | Comedy | 3 November 1970 (USA)
A stuffy author enters into an explosive relationship with his neighbor, a foul-mouthed, freewheeling prostitute.


Herbert Ross


Bill Manhoff (play), Buck Henry (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Barbra Streisand ... Doris
George Segal ... Felix
Robert Klein ... Barney
Allen Garfield ... Dress Shop Proprietor
Roz Kelly ... Eleanor
Jacques Sandulescu Jacques Sandulescu ... Rapzinsky
Jack Manning Jack Manning ... Mr. Weyderhaus
Grace Carney Grace Carney ... Mrs. Weyderhaus
Barbara Anson Barbara Anson ... Miss Weyderhaus
Kim Chan ... Theatre Cashier
Stan Gottlieb Stan Gottlieb ... Coatcheck Man
Joe Madden Joe Madden ... Old Man Neighbor
Fay Sappington Fay Sappington ... Old Woman Neighbor
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marilyn Chambers ... Barney's Girl (as Evelyn Lang)


Can a bickering odd couple in Manhattan become friends and maybe more? Owlish Felix is an unpublished writer who vents his frustration by reporting to the super that the woman in a neighboring flat takes the occasional payment for sex. She's Doris, more wildcat than pussycat, and when Felix's peeping-tom-tattle-tale routine gets her bounced from her apartment, she knocks at his door at 3 AM, aggressive and ticked off. They yell, lose another apartment, and pick up where they left off in a friend's flat and beyond. Dancing by the light of the moon seems unlikely for this owl and pussycat. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Can an owl and a pussycat? See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Sony Movie Channel [us





Release Date:

3 November 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El búho y la gatita See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Star Barbra Streisand between takes painted and studied painting. The actress had to wear special plastic gloves in order to protect her make-up manicure for her film character. Reportedly, because Streisand was a fan of the modernist artist Frank Stella, producer Ray Stark gave her an artist's smock embroidered with the name "Streisella". See more »


When Doris is playing the piano at the Weyderhaus', her hands do not match the music. See more »


Doris: [Heard off-screen in the soundtrack to CYCLE SLUTS] What are you doing? What's that for? What are you going to do with that? What's that THING? And what's that other thing? Where ya gonna put that? Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Hold it. You can't do that.
Doris: No, not with both of 'em. You can't, I tell ya. You can't. Can you? Oh, maybe you can. My God, you could!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Rated "R" in the U.S. in 1970, film was recut and re-rated "PG" for a 1972 release. See more »


References Man Made Monster (1941) See more »


The Morning After
Performed by Blood Sweat & Tears
See more »

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User Reviews

THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT (Herbert Ross, 1970) ***
28 December 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This is another film I had missed out on a number of times on Cable TV in the past. It's considered something of a censorship milestone with the treatment of taboo subjects such as prostitution, homosexuality and pornography – not to mention the proliferation of bad language throughout (unfortunately, the DVD is said to contain the slightly edited PG-rated version, which cuts some brief nudity involving female lead Barbra Streisand and her use of the f-word in one scene)!

With this in mind, one has to consider the development which the comedy genre underwent during this time: from the mildly risqué sophisticated antics of the Doris Day/Rock Hudson films of the early 1960s to the cynical anxiety-ridden variety that started emanating towards the tail-end of the decade – with which the likes of Jack Lemmon, George Segal (the male lead of this film) and, in particular, Woody Allen (since he was his own writer and mostly directed himself as well) are forever associated.

THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT is also notable for giving the current female singing sensation – Barbra Streisand – her first non-musical role; in fact, it led to other wacky comedy vehicles: foremost among them WHAT'S UP, DOC? (1972; Peter Bogdanovich's updating of the Howard Hawks classic BRINGING UP BABY [1938]) and FOR PETE'S SAKE (1974; whose trailer, included on the Columbia R2 DVD of the film under review, makes it seem like a good deal of fun). Thanks largely to his role in the film, Segal went on to do his fair share of sex comedies up till the early 1980s – with the most successful among them being A TOUCH OF CLASS (1973), which I should be acquiring shortly.

Anyway, to get to the main item: the film can be seen as a modern variation on the perennial "Pygmalion" theme – with Segal as intellectual but, at the same time, neurotic and Streisand the uncouth yet liberated woman. There's no plot to speak of – instead, we follow the two stars on a logical pattern of location-hopping around New York throughout which their relationship blossoms: from his apartment when she's evicted because of his snitching (which leads to both of them being given the gate by the landlord), to them shacking up at the flat of Segal's pal (who drives them out because of their constant bickering), then going their separate ways till they meet again (after he has learned about her movie experience – a hilarious scene – and a 'colleague' of hers has gone to see him at his workplace) and go out together (where they're harassed by a band of thrill-seekers), after which they find themselves at the house of Segal's fiancée (a scene with an unexpectedly ironic punchline), to finally deciding to be completely honest with one another (beginning with their real names).

In this respect, the film emerges to be overly talky (betraying its stage origins) but there is a reasonable amount of invention and wit in the undeniable comedy highlights: Segal dressing up as Death to scare the hiccupping Streisand; Segal using an aquarium as a TV set – with him delivering an impromptu news flash – to humor the insomniac Streisand (her addiction to TV is illustrated by a surprising reference to the Lionel Atwill/Lon Chaney Jr. horror pic MAN MADE MONSTER [1941]); the couple's argument over "the sun spat morning" line in the opening paragraph of a book by aspiring novelist Segal; Streisand's account of the sordid activities her clients invariably came up with (prompting Segal to describe her as "a sexual Disneyland"), etc. The film's soundtrack is highlighted by several songs from jazz/rock band Blood, Sweat & Tears.

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