Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Imelda Staunton
Directed by: David Yates
Synopsis: The beginning of the final battle between Lord Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) followers and the rest of the wizarding world culminates with the complete subversion of the Ministry of Magic and a smear campaign against Harry Potter (Danielle Radcliffe), forcing him and his friends to go on the run as they try to locate the remaining Horcruxes.
Kitty Cameos: When Harry, Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) sneak into the Ministry of Magic disguised as other wizards using Polyjuice Potion, Harry makes his way to Dolores Umbridge’s (Imelda Staunton) office in search of the necklace they know to be a Horcrux. On the walls are kitten plates like the ones she had in her office at Hogwarts.
Not finding the necklace in her office, Harry and Ron go down to the inquisition room where Hermione is already with Umbridge as she interrogates a woman. During the mock trial Umbridge has her Patronus sitting on the bench beside her, which is a cat.
Final Mewsings: Sometimes cats don’t get to choose who loves them.
J. Arthur Rank Organisation
Starring: Dirk Bogarde, Muriel Pavlow, Kenneth More
Directed by: Ralph Thomas
Synopsis: The trials and travails of Simon Sparrow (Dirk Bogarde), a medical student who fulfills his residency at a London hospital with a group of rambunctious fellow students who keep his life interesting.
Purr Blurs: On Christmas Eve, Simon is placed on maternity call. In the middle of the night he gets a call and has to ride to the home on the hospital’s bicycle, which he is warned is temperamental at best. Sure enough he is riding through an alley when he loses control of the bike and crashes into some garbage cans. A black and white cat is sitting on top of one of the cans and watches warily the impending crash.
When the bike hits the cat leaps into the air and runs off down the snowy alley.
After Simon has successfully performed the birth he leaves the home in the morning. A black cat is sitting outside of the house in the snow and scurries away when Simon exits.
Final Mewsings: Cat – 1, Bicycle – 0.
Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki
Directed by: Jeremiah Chechik
Cat Out of the Bag Alert! This review contains a spoiler for this film!
Synopsis: Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) is looking forward to an old-fashioned family Christmas with his loved ones and their extended families. But everything that can go wrong does go wrong and the sudden appearance of Cousin Eddie and his family makes things even more crazy for the already overwraught Griswolds.
Kitty Carnage Warning! We have to jump right to the carnage warning since the only reason for the white long-haired Angora’s presence in this film is to have kitty fry when it chews on the Christmas tree lights, which Clark plugs back in unknowingly.
According to the DVD commentary, an animal is killed in all of the vacation movies, and this joke was nearly cut from the film because the studio was concerned it was in such bad taste.
But it tested as one of the biggest laugh-getters in the whole movie and as such stayed in the final cut.
Final Mewsings: Needless to say that poor kitty was in for one helluva shock at Christmas!
Original Air Date: December 25, 1953
Starring: Eve Arden, Gale Gordon, Jane Morgan
Also Starring: Orangey
Directed by: Al Lewis
Synopsis: Schoolteacher Connie Brooks (Eve Arden) finds herself alone with Minerva the cat (Orangey) on Christmas Eve until a little boy sells her a magic Christmas tree and everyone suddenly shows up to visit, bearing gifts and some surprising behaviour.
Cinema Cat: Minerva, Mrs. Davis’ pet orange tabby cat, was a staple of this series back when it was a radio show and Minerva was a human voice saying “Meow!” in the most hilarious way. Minerva was played in the television series by cat actor Orangey (who gained fame playing Rhubarb two years earlier in the film of the same name). Oddly enough, in the television series Minerva’s meows are still provided by a human voice when a particular bit of comedic cat reaction is needed.
Minerva has a notable part in this episode when she keeps poking around the base of Connie’s sad-looking Christmas tree, nibbling on the pine needles. Connie and Mrs. Davis speculate in so many words that the needle sap must be like alcohol to the cat, which seems to bear out later when Minerva is caught hiccuping.
When Mrs. Davis leaves, Miss Brooks is left alone with Minerva and picks her up several times to sit on her lap in the rocking chair. The highlight of the episode is when Miss Brooks sings a carol while rocking with Minerva which goes something like this:
Minerva is present through much of the episode, usually seen sitting beneath the Christmas tree nibbling on the pine needles (or whatever treat Orangey’s trainer, Frank Inn, put beneath the tree to entice him to stay there.)
Eve Arden does an admirable job of holding Orangey throughout several scenes, stroking him to keep him settled on her lap even when he gets fidgety.
Final Mewsings: Now we know why cats can’t resist Christmas trees!
Directed by: Joseph Barbera, William Hanna
Cat Out of the Bag Alert! This review contains some spoilers for this film!
Synopsis: The most famous cat and mouse animated duo in film history, Tom and Jerry, star in this heartwarming Christmas tale in which Tom shows mercy on Jerry after shutting him out of the house in a snowstorm.
Cinema Cat: There’s little doubt the impact that Tom and Jerry had on the world of animation with their introduction and the classic tit-for-tat style chase scenes they embarked upon in their comedy films. This entry delves a little bit into pathos as well but starts out with the typical cat-and-mouse shenanigans with Tom chasing Jerry around the Christmas tree.
At one point Jerry slaps a “Do Not Open Till X-Mas” sticker over Tom’s mouth!
The sentimentality in this particular short is unusual for these films, although it may have helped lead to the short being nominated for an Academy Award that year.
Who would have thought that Tom would ever kiss Jerry (even though it’s because Jerry is holding mistletoe)?
Eventually Tom succeeds in chasing Jerry out of the house but a snowstorm is raging outside and Tom begins to feel guilty.
Finding Jerry frozen in the snow, Tom quickly tries to defrost him over the fire.
In the end Tom gives Jerry a peppermint stick. In return Jerry disables the booby trap he has set up for Tom.
Final Mewsings: At Christmastime even old enemies can put their differences aside.