Starring: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Christopher Severn
Directed by: William Wyler
Cat Out of the Bag Alert! This review contains some spoilers for this film!
Synopsis: The story of an English family, the Minivers, coping with the opening months of World War II as seen through the eyes of the lovely and kind matriarch, Mrs. Miniver (Greer Garson).
Featured Feline: The Miniver’s youngest son is named Toby (Christopher Severn) and Toby is attached to a tuxedo cat named Napoleon. In an early scene in the film Mr. Miniver (Walter Pidgeon) arrives home and heads up the stairs. Toby is comes running down the stairs holding Toby. When Mr. Miniver asks Toby what the hurry is, Toby replies, “Can’t stop now, Daddy. Napoleon wants to throw up!” (In a newspaper adaptation of the story it is explained that Napoleon had partaken of some left-over salmon and had turned “a bit pale around the gills.”)
Napoleon is next seen sitting by the children’s dinner table as Mrs. Miniver sits with them during their meal.
Later in the film the Miniver’s return home from church after the news that England has entered the war. Their maid, Ada (Marie De Becker) is in a tizzy about their other housemaid, Gladys (Brenda Forbes) being upset over her love Horace (Rhys Williams) signing up to fight. As Mrs. Miniver opens a closet door Napoleon leaps out, startling them. Mrs. Miniver tells Toby to take him away but Napoleon runs up the stairs ahead of Toby.
Napoleon is seen eating his meal by the dining table at the start of the next scene.
Horace comes to say goodbye and Toby reminds him to say goodbye to Napoleon.
The only other time when Napoleon is featured is during the dramatic scene in which the family is inside their bomb shelter. Napoleon is sitting on top of Toby as he sleeps.
When the bombs start dropping close by and the parents grab their children to protect them, Toby asks where Napoleon is. Mrs. Miniver assures him the cat is just underneath the beds, but Napoleon is not seen again in the film.
According to one account on the IMDb message boards the cat actor’s name was Beth and she appeared in other films as well, but we are not able to substantiate the information at this time.
Final Mewsings: Impending war makes cats throw up.
Many thanks to Kitty L. for reminding us about Napoleon in this film!
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