Tuesday, May 12, 2009

OSD comin' atcha, or A Cat in A Bonnet is EXCELLENT

Today I feel the need to get down to the business of this blog; that of honoring our little squishy pals (in my case, the Earl of Stripylegs, who was happy as heck to see me last night.) And what better way than to mix in another recurring blog theme; honoring Old School Disney? That brings me to my point, which is a little gem called The Three Lives of Thomasina (1964). This baby, much like Darby O'Gill, has it all. Romance, excitement, witches, aincent Egypt, vicious Gypsies, veterinarians, Scotland, and a CAT. Basically, Thomasina is a cat who has a tragic accident and is put to sleep by Dad, the widowed vet. The townsfolk think that Dad is heavy- handed when it comes to euthanasia, and he has trouble exposing them to modern medicine practices as a result. Daughter Mary's relationship with Dad is strained (after an elaborate cat funeral) until a mysterious (and attractive) witch moves into a cottage in the woods and Thomasina, the cat, returns in a new life as her pet. This witch is talented at healing animals, and romance betwixt vet and witch ensues. Thomasina even saves the Mary's life at one point. Thomasina's afterlife sequence with forty siameses and a huge golden cat idol is both impressive and downright weird. According to IMDB, it was originally released in three one hour segments on a Disney TV program and later turned into a feature, but no matter. It certainly reads as a feature film when you watch it. It also manages to capture the love of people for their cats while not being cheesy/lame about it, in addition to bringing up the issues of mercy killing, and paganism vs. modern science, strangely enough. Thomasina is pretty funny too, as evidenced by the quote "They started out by calling me Thomas, but when they, um, got to know me better, they changed it to Thomasina." And the movie was indeed filmed in Scotland, so it has pretty authentic location footage. It is a tearjerker in parts, and can be totally traumatic for little kids, or so I hear, but I didn't see it until I was in my twenties, so I can't say that I was too upset by it. I was, actually, overjoyed to have another OSD classic to add to my collection and have it be about Cats, too! And BONUS: it is as equally eerie and whimsical as my beloved Darby O'Gill. It does end on a happy note, so no worries there. It is just a good example of what I always appreciate; namely, a movie with an ORIGINAL premise in a world where the same crap is regurgitated over and over. Of course, this was 45 years ago, so people hadn't gotten around to being quite so unoriginal yet...anyway, watch it and enjoy. I've got this one in my top ten OSD favorites, so you should take my word for it.

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