Dick Whittington’s Cat (1936)

Dick Whittington's Cat poster

Celebrity Productions
Directed by:
 Ub Iwerks

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

Synopsis: Based on the classic British folk tale.  Dick Whittington takes pity on a stray cat and saves his life, which ends up possibly putting its life in peril.

Cartoon Cat: While this adaptation by Ub Iwerks follows the basic plot of the original story to some extent, there are also major differences.  For instance, in the first frames of the film we realize the cat is deathly afraid of rats, as is evidenced when he finds a fish bone and is then scared away from it by a rat biting his tail.

Dick Whittington's cat - cartoon black cat threatened by rat

The cat comes across the kitchen where Dick Whittington works for a vicious chef (the chef not only throws the cat into a bag and orders Dick to drown it after Dick has generously given the cat a bowl of milk, but later the man is seen brutally beating the boy!)

Dick Whittington's cat - Dick Whittington giving cartoon black cat a bowl of milk

Unable to drown the cat, Dick sneaks it aboard a ship sailing for the East instead.  In the Arab land the rats are so bad they eat the food off the plates of even the royalty.  The commander of the ship remembers finding Dick’s cat in a chest and brings it in, pointing the rats out to the cat.

Dick Whittington's cat - ship commander pointing out rats to cartoon black cat

The cat is immediately scared, and for good reason!  The rats not only chase him but threaten him with a knife when he hides inside a Swiss cheese!

Dick Whittington's cat - cartoon black cat threatened by rat with knife

Having caught the cat the rats then tie him to a strange cutting machine and prepare to decapitate him!

Dick Whittington's cat - cartoon black cat about to be killed by machine

The cat dies from fright and its nine lives emerge.  Fortunately for the cat its lives are braver and proceed to dispatch the rats.  The lives revive the cat and the cat is rewarded with a chest of money.

Dick Whittington's cat - cartoon black cat's nine lives emerge

The cat returns to England and presents Dick with the money, much to the boy’s delight.  However the cat is taunted by another rat when it gets outside and ends up running away.

Dick Whittington's cat - cartoon black cat makes Dick Whittington rich

Final Mewsings: Scaredy cats can make good, too!

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