Monthly Archives: October 2018

Meari to majo no hana (2017)

Mary and the Witch's Flower poster

English Title: Mary and the Witch’s Flower
Studio Ponoc
Starring:
 Hana Sugisaki, Ryûnosuke Kamiki
Directed by: Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Giles New

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains some spoilers for this film!

Synopsis: Mary (voiced by Hana Sugisaki) is a young girl who discovers a little broomstick that takes her to Endor, a college for witches, where she discovers something terrible.

Cartoon Cats: Mary has recently moved to her Great Aunt Charlotte’s house and is feeling bored. She is having a picnic when a black cat appears.

Mary and the Witch's Flower - black cat Tib coming around corner of wall

Mary and the Witch's Flower - black cat Tib sitting on wall

The little cat starts to lead her into the woods. Much to her surprise, the cat changes from black to gray!

Mary and the Witch's Flower - gray cat Gib in woods

When they reach a dead clearing, Mary realizes there are actually two cats, one male black named Tib and one female gray named Gib. The cats do not speak in this film other than to make normal cat sounds.

Mary and the Witch's Flower - black cat Tib and gray cat Gib sitting on fallen tree

While in the clearing the cats react nervously to a lovely flower. Mary picks a portion of the flower and takes it home. She is later told it is known as The Witch’s Flower.

Mary and the Witch's Flower - black cat Tib and gray cat Gib hissing

The two cats turn out to belong to a local boy named Peter (voiced by Ryûnosuke Kamiki). But one night Tib shows up at Mary’s room in a panicked state. Gib is nowhere to be found.

Mary and the Witch's Flower - black cat Tib scared on bed

Mary and the Witch's Flower - black cat Tib scared on bed

Tib leads Mary into the misty woods where she finds a little broomstick. Tib then throws one of the blossoms of the Witch’s Flower on Mary’s hands and the broom comes to life, whisking them away into the sky.

Mary and the Witch's Flower - black cat Tib in tree holding Witch's Flower blossom

Mary and the Witch's Flower - black cat Tib on broomstick meowing

They arrive at a large beautiful facility known as Endor which Mary finds out is a witches’ college. She is told that anyone entering the facility who doesn’t belong will be transformed. She lies and enters the college with Tib, who is forced to wear a collar.

Mary and the Witch's Flower - black cat Tib being forced to wear red collar

Mary is greeted by the headmistress Madam Mumblechook (voiced by Yûki Amami) and introduced to a strange magical science instructor named Doctor Dee (voiced by Fumiyo Kohinata).

Mary and the Witch's Flower - Mary and black cat Tib looking startled

It turns out the Witch’s Flower has endowed Mary with magical powers and so she is embraced as a potential star pupil. But when Doctor Dee enters a secret cave area Tib tries desperately to get inside. It is only indicated that some kind of dreadful transformation experiments on animals is taking place inside.

Mary and the Witch's Flower - Mary trying to hold frantic black cat Tib

Mary ends up accidentally stealing a book from Madam Mumblechook and revealing the existence of the Witch’s Flower before she leaves for home. Tib does not want to go but finally consents.

Mary and the Witch's Flower - Mary pleading with black cat Tib who does not want to leave Endor

Mary has no intention of returning to the school but Madam Mumblechook kidnaps Peter in order to convince Mary to bring her The Witch’s Flower. She and Tib return to the school, this time gaining access to the secret lab. We then learn that poor Gib was captured and transformed into a strange beast.

Mary and the Witch's Flower - Mary and black cat Tib looking startled at apparition of Madam Mumblechook

Mary and the Witch's Flower - black cat Tib with transformed gray cat Gib in cage

Using the book, Mary is able to free all the animals from their spells and Gib is restored, making Tib very happy.

Mary and the Witch's Flower - black cat Tib greeting gray cat Gib as she emerges from cage

But there are still many obstacles to overcome when Mary realizes that Madam Mumblechook and Doctor Dee are experimenting with forces they can’t control, using The Witch’s Flower to their advantage. Tib and Gib stay fast by her side as they end up having to rescue Peter and set things right.

Mary and the Witch's Flower - Mary and black cat Tib with Peter and gray cat Gib

Mary and the Witch's Flower - gray cat Gib hiding in Peter's shirt

Mary and the Witch's Flower - Mary and black cat Tib

Mary and the Witch's Flower - black cat Tib and gray cat Gib pressing cheeks together

Mary and the Witch's Flower - black cat Tib and gray cat Gib facing fire

A very charming film and two more adorable cat characters to add to the anime cat-alogue.

Mary and the Witch's Flower - Mary holding Witch's Flower blossom with black cat Tib, Peter and gray cat Gib on broom

Mary and the Witch's Flower - black cat Tib and gray cat Gib sleeping in sun in front of house

Final Mewsings: Cats will lead you to places you never dreamed you’d go.


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Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

Bedknobs and Broomsticks poster

Walt Disney Productions
Starring:
 Angela Lansbury, David Tomlinson
Directed by: Robert Stevenson

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains some spoilers for this film!

Synopsis: Miss Eglantine Price (Angela Lansbury) is an apprentice witch who takes in three children during World War II, only to have the war threaten the small town where she lives.

Featured Feline: When the children arrive at Miss Price’s home they are startled by a very unruly looking black cat. Actually they pass the cat at first, which is clearly a stuffed cat substituting for the real one for this particular shot.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers stuffed double on stand behind children

The rough-looking black cat hisses at the children, making them jump. Earlier in the film it was revealed the cat was sent to Miss Price by a man named Emelius Browne. The girl, Carrie (Cindy O’Callaghan) asks Miss Price what she calls her cat and Miss Price explains that she doesn’t believe in giving animals ridiculous names. “I call him Cosmic Creepers because that’s the name he came with.”

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers close

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers hissing

Cosmic Creepers is seen several times during the film, usually looking startled at something that is happening, such as when Miss Price first learns how to ride a broomstick.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers on table

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers sitting on table looking surprised

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers on book

The children see her riding the broom and the oldest boy, Charlie (Ian Weighill) gets the idea to blackmail Miss Price. Miss Price warns Charlie to be careful and then turns him into a rabbit, which excites Cosmic Creepers.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers on shelf licking lips

The cat chases Charlie upstairs and corners him by a door. Fortunately Miss Price’s spells don’t last long since she is only an apprentice witch and Charlie turns back into a boy and angrily goes after the cat, who runs away.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers stalking Charlie

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers running down stairs chased by Charlie

Cosmic Creepers comes in again as Miss Price is preparing a trip to see Emilius Browne with Carrie and the youngest boy, Paul (Roy Snart). Charlie has decided not to go along, that is until the cat jumps up on the dresser beside him and hisses. Then Charlie jumps onto the bed just as it takes off.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers on dresser by Charlie Ian Weighill

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers hissing

Cosmic Creepers is next seen sunning in the place where the bed used to be when it suddenly returns, sending the cat scrambling.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers lying on carpet

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers looking shocked

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers looking startled animated gif

The cat reacts with surprise during a musical sequence in which various articles of clothing come to life.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers on book looking surprised

One evening Emilius makes sausages for dinner and no one wants them. He ends up giving one to Cosmic Creepers, who takes it happily.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers looking up and meowing

However Emilius tries to impress everyone with his juggling and accidentally steps on the cat’s tail, causing the cat to screech and run away.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers runs away when tail is stepped upon

Late in the film Miss Price is putting Cosmic Creepers out for the night when she spots some German soldiers looking over her wall. As the battle with the invading Germans begins, Emilius accidentally startles Cosmic Creepers, who meows angrily. The more Emilius tries to quiet the cat, the noisier Cosmic Creepers gets. In the struggle between them a vase is knocked off the mantle.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers on mantel hissing angrily

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers on mantel hissing angrily animated gif

When the Germans come to investigate the noises, they see Cosmic Creepers sitting by the broken vase and assume that is all they heard.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers by broken vase

At the end of the film Cosmic Creepers is sitting in the window as Emilius marches off to war with an elderly group of soldiers.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers on mantel stepping out of window

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers sitting in window

The appearance of Cosmis Creepers throughout the film is memorable. As one review of the film from the Orlando Evening Star stated, “Casting is perfect. Cosmic is a mangy, ear-chewed bad tempered feline, with the brightest eyes and the nastiest disposition which is displays at all times. Cosmic has the attitude humans are stupid but have to be endured.”

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers at window looking up

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers close looking up

It would appear that the cat actor(s) underwent some specific grooming to make them seem ragged and unkempt, with bits of fur shaved in places and other parts matted and styled to look ratty. One ear is bent, but it’s not clear if this was natural or some kind of attachment. One thing is certain; the feline thespian(s) deserve some kind of award for giving some of the best cat reaction shots ever captured on film.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers looking surprised

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - ragged black cat Cosmic Creepers looking shocked

Several drawings of black cats are also present in the opening credits.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks - black cat drawings on opening title card

Final Mewsings: Some cat actors go all out for their roles!


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The Larkins – “Cat Happy”

The Larkins DVD

Original Air Date: October 3, 1958
Starring: David Kossoff, Peggy Mount
Directed by: Bill Ward

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains spoilers for this episode!

Synopsis: Ada Larkin (Peggy Mount) pampers the pedigree black cat she is pet sitting for a friend, bringing resentment from the men in the family who plot to get rid of the intruding Moggy.

Featured Feline: The cat is question is a show cat named The Black Prince, but Ada lovingly calls him Blackie. When her husband Alf first comes in he sees Ada cooing over a baby basket and thinks it is a child but soon learns the truth.

The Larkins - Cat Happy - Alf David Kossoff with Ada Peggy Mount holding black cat Blackie

The Larkins - Cat Happy - Alf David Kossoff with Ada Peggy Mount holding black cat Blackie

Alf, Eddie (Shaun O’Riordan) and Jeff (Ronan O’Casey) are soon dismayed to find Blackie is getting treated better than they are, being served nicer meals before them. Ada even makes Eddie take the cat for walkies on a lead.

The Larkins - Cat Happy - black cat Blackie coming through doorway on lead

While Ada is away one time, Alf and Jeff open the kitchen door and wait for Blackie to make a run for it. But the cat is content to sit in a chair.

The Larkins - Cat Happy - black cat Blackie sitting on chair

Alf finally encourages Jeff to bring the cat into the kitchen and set it on the floor in front of the open door. Blackie still doesn’t budge, even when the men jump up and down and bang pots and pans.

The Larkins - Cat Happy - Jeff Ronan O'Casey carrying black cat Blackie into kitchen

The Larkins - Cat Happy - black cat Blackie standing on kitchen floor

Blackie finally walks out the door and the men feel triumphant … until they walk into the living room and see Blackie sitting on the chair again, having come in through an open window.

The Larkins - Cat Happy - black cat Blackie lying on chair

Later they talk Eddie into “losing” Blackie during a walk, having deduced that the tag on the cat’s collar will assure the animal is returned to his owner when she returns. Eddie comes home claiming he took off running and ran all the way home, sure he has lost the cat. They then notice the lead in his hand and sure enough Blackie walks in, still attached to the other end.

The Larkins - Cat Happy - black cat Blackie in doorway on end of lead

Alf takes matters into his own hands and goes out to lose the cat. He comes back home saying he was successful. Then a boy (Donald Wilson) enters and places the cat on the table, asking for a reward.

The Larkins - Cat Happy - Alf David Kossoff with Jeff Ronan O'Casey Eddie Shaun O'Riordan and boy with black cat Blackie on table

Seeing an opportunity, the man tell the boy to take the cat and return him to the owner on the tag. But Ada walks in just as the boy is leaving and the plan is foiled.

The Larkins - Cat Happy - Alf David Kossoff and Jeff Ronan O'Casey hand black cat Blackie to boy

The Larkins - Cat Happy - Alf David Kossoff Jeff Ronan O'Casey Ada Peggy Mount and Peggy Ruth Trouncer with boy holding black cat Blackie

Eventually Blackie does run away and Ada is furious. Everyone is ordered to look for the cat. Ada then goes outside and finds Blackie and brings him inside. Only daughter Joyce (Ruth Trouncer) also comes in with Blackie. As does Jeff, Eddie and Alf. Now they have five black cats and they don’t know which one is Blackie!

The Larkins - Cat Happy - Ada Peggy Mount and Peggy Ruth Trouncer holding black cats

The Larkins - Cat Happy - Jeff Ronan O'Casey Ada Peggy Mount and Peggy Ruth Trouncer holding black cats

The Larkins - Cat Happy - Jeff Ronan O'Casey Ada Peggy Mount Peggy Ruth Trouncer and Eddie Shaun O'Riordan holding black cats

The Larkins - Cat Happy - Alf David Kossoff Jeff Ronan O'Casey Ada Peggy Mount Peggy Ruth Trouncer and Eddie Shaun O'Riordan holding black cats

As they try to sort out the mess, Ada gets a call from Blackie’s owner who is furious, saying she has Blackie at home after the boy brought him to her and wanted the reward. Alf is in hot water with Ada as the show ends.

The Larkins - Cat Happy - Alf David Kossoff Jeff Ronan O'Casey Peggy Ruth Trouncer and Eddie Shaun O'Riordan with black cats on kitchen floor

Final Mewsings: Cats make good house guests if they are welcomed.


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Leave it to Beaver – “Cleaning Up Beaver”

Leave it to Beaver Season One DVD

Original Air Date: March 7, 1958
Starring: Hugh Downs, Barbara Billingsly, Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers as “The Beaver”
Directed by: Norman Tokar

Synopsis: Wally and Beaver are at odds over cleanliness, leading to Beaver moving alone to the guest room.

Kitty Cameo: While trying to sleep in the guest room, Beaver is plagued by shadows and strange noises. A screeching begins as a black cat is seen walking on a tree branch outside. The cat just seems to be ambling quietly while the background is filled with cat cries.

Leave it to Beaver - Cleaning Up Beaver - black cat walking on tree branch

Leave it to Beaver - Cleaning Up Beaver - black cat walking on tree branch

Final Mewsings: Don’t blame the cat for overuse of the sound effects record!


Relevant Links:

Many thanks to Jerry Otwell for spotting the cat in this episode!

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Skeleton Frolics (1937)

Screen Gems
Directed by:
 Ub Iwerks

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains some spoilers for this film!

Synopsis: A group of skeletons rise from their graves on a dark and spooky night to play music and dance.

Cartoon Cat: Near the beginning of the short film the skeletons are sneaking through a graveyard when they are scared by a loud screech. It turns out to be a black cat yowling nearby.

Skeleton Frolics - black cat on grave marker

Skeleton Frolics - black cat yowling on grave marker

Skeleton Frolics - skeletons scared black cat yowling on grave marker

The skeletons angrily throw their skulls at the cat, who breaks up into numerous little cats.

Skeleton Frolics - black cat with skulls flying at it

Skeleton Frolics - numerous little black cats on grave marker

The artwork in this short is impressive as are the rich and beautiful colors.

Skeleton Frolics - skeletons throw their skulls at black cat which breaks into smaller black cats

Final Mewsings: The only thing better than a black cat is lots of little black cats!


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