Kim Novak used to act on American films, now is a visual artist. Kim is best known for her
dual role as both Judy Barton and Madeleine Elster in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller Vertigo (1958). Other notable films are The Man With The Golden Arm (1955) and Pal Joey (1957). As she’s seen in her films, she is a huge fan of Siamese cat.Siamese cat.
Kim Novak was born February 13, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois. Kim was a leading box-office attraction of the 1950s, and perhaps the last of the ‘sex goddesses’ produced by the Hollywood star system.
However, she achieved stardom by developing an individualistic screen persona, and through her own accomplishments as an actress. She played her role not just as a sex symbol as her beauty easily qualified, but gave characters more depth and sensitivity.
A familiar for a witch, like Gillian, who Kim played in the film Bell, Book and Candle (1958), acts as an extension of power.
Gillian’s power embodied in an animal form. The familiar can be assigned tasks to complete for the owner, which in the film Pyewacket performs plenty. He is the most magical being in the film.
Pyewacket is one of the most famous cat names. In the film, Pyewacket the Siamese played an important role with Kim. The name Pyewacket actually appeared in 1647 on an infamous woodcut of the General Matthew Hopkins (a witch hunter) with two accused witches caught naming their familiars.
One of the familiars is named on the woodcut as Pyewacket. Because of its connection to witchcraft, the name has become also one of the most popular familiar names in history.
When film producers had launched a search for a cat actor, animal trainer Frank Inn’s Siamese cat was being seriously considered and that Orangey who played with Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast Tiffany’s was even considered for the role.
Ultimately, Inn’s cat, Pyewacket, did end up with the role and even won a coveted PATSY award for the role. Having bonded with this Siamese, it’s reported that Kim was actually given Pyewacket at the end of filming.
Siamese Craze in Hollywood
With Hollywood running with the popular Siamese craze at the time of Bell Book and Candle it fueled the breeding of the cats.
Before the world caught up with Siam, only The King of Siam and his family could own the sacred cats. Any cat caught off the Palace Grounds was immediately returned by the Kings people to receive his Blessing for bringing the cat safely back to him.
The Siamese breed is one of the oldest breeds in the world. Kept safe in the Kings Care these animals had some of the purest DNA as a specific species because The King of Siam never allowed anyone else to have one for a pet or otherwise breeding them.
Vertigo is often regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. The work is a mesmerizing romantic suspense/thriller about a macabre, doomed romance – a desperate love for an illusion.
It’s definitely one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most powerful, deep, and stunningly beautiful films.
Kim’s reflective and essentially introverted personality, and undeniable screen presence are ideally suited to the many nonverbal scenes involving the Madeleine character.
Given the film’s conception, Madeleine must convey both aloofness and intimacy to be effective, and Kim manages to sustain the resulting tension. Her performance gave substance to a characterization crucial for the film’s emotionally devastating climax.
At first, Kim rejected to put on the shoes and a gray suit as she thought it would not fit her character, she soon understood its importance explained by Hitchcock. Stylish and classy, it’s worth watching just for her gorgeous attire.
Kim retired from her successful career as an actress and now lives in California with the purpose of creating a lifestyle in harmony with nature while combining it her love of painting and writing poetry. You can check out her drawings on Kim’s website.
Also published on Medium.