• Cat

    ‘The Electric Life of Louis Wain’ inspired by a real cat painter

    He was the cat’s meow. One hundred years ago, Louis Wain transformed the humble feline from vermin-catching critter to beloved beast with his whimsical drawings of anthropomorphized cats. His cute kittens and cigar-chomping tabbies — sometimes done in black ink, sometimes in electric neons — threw snowballs at one another, played poker and drank brandy, and made all sorts of mischief. They appeared in books, magazines, newspapers and postcards all over Victorian England. Now, a new movie, “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, in select theaters now and streaming on Amazon Prime Video Friday, tells his story. “He made the cat his own,” the science-fiction writer H.G.…

  • Cat

    ‘The Electrical Life of Louis Wain’ Review: The Cat’s Meow

    “Why cats?” This innocent question arrives midway through “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain,” hovering over it like a mischievous smile. For some of us, of course, the only answer to this query can be: “Why not?” The answer was far more complicated for the real Wain, a British artist who in the 1880s became well-known for his distinctive, playful drawings of cats; his fame helped deepen a national appreciation for the Felis catus. Wain’s work is easily found online, and while you may recognize it, the man remains more elusive. The modesty, ubiquity and naïveté of his art played a role. The drawings were mass produced, for starters, first…