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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