With the help of a smooth talking tomcat, a family of Parisian felines set to inherit a fortune from their owner try to make it back home after a jealous butler kidnaps them and leaves them in the country.
During WWII in England, Charlie, Carrie, and Paul Rawlins are sent to live with Eglantine Price, who it turns out is an apprentice witch. Charlie blackmails Miss Price that if he is to keep her practices a secret, she must give him something, so she takes a bed knob from her late father's bed and places the "famous magic traveling spell" on it, and only Paul can activate it. Their first journey is to a street in London where they meet Emelius Browne, former headmaster of Miss Price's witchcraft training correspondence school. Miss Price tells him of a plan to find the magic words for a spell known as Substitutiary Locomotion, which brings inanimate objects to life. This spell will be her work for the war effort.Written by
Matthew Anscher <email@example.com>
HIDDEN MICKEY: In the establishing shot of the animated soccer game, a bear wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt is in the crowd, on the right side of the picture. See more »
British characters refer to "soccer" rather than "football." The latter is spoken only by young Charles who says, "That's no excuse for dirty football!" Many viewers assume that this inaccuracy reveals the American origins of the producers. However, the term soccer was used in Britain along with football, for much of the 20th century. At one point soccer was the preferred term in official printed materials there. For some reason the name "soccer" virtually disappeared, almost overnight, from common usage in the UK around 1980. See more »
The opening credits are based on the Bayeux Tapestry, a full account of the 1066 Norman conquest of Britain. See more »
In 1996, in honor of the film's 25th anniversary, the film was restored to a length of 139 minutes, close to the originally intended length (the film had been cut to 117 minutes against the wishes of its makers before its premiere). This version has the following scenes reinstated:
A guardsman named Mr. Widdenfield (played by Arthur Malet) harasses Captain Greer, while Mrs. Hobday tries to clear things out (leading into the song "The Old Home Guard").
A Home Guard sergeant asking for permission to dismiss the marching parade (immediately after "The Old Home Guard" ends).
Mr. Jelk tells Mrs. Hobday of his plans to buy Miss Price's house.
At dinner time, Carrie tells Miss Price she and her brothers are orphans, while she explains what happened to their caretaker, Aunt Bessie.
Miss Price notes mango-wurzel jam is available at the dinner table, and they say grace, as the children look disgusted at Miss Price's tastes in food.
Miss Price tells the children no one has ever seen her workroom before.
As Mr. Jelk brings a letter to Miss Price (the one that informs her the Emelius Browne Correspondence College of Witchcraft has closed), he tries to get into the house and talk to her, but she politely sends him away.
When Miss Price asks Paul for the bedknob back to get to London, Charlie attempts to extort some money from her, but she rebuffs him.
After "The Age of Not Believing," Paul tries to get the bed to fly, but Miss Price forgot to tell him to tell the knob where to take them.
When the children find Mr. Browne on the streets of London, they take the bed with them and follow him.
The entire song "With a Flair" and its lead-in, as well as Mr. Browne's subsequent offer to sell his magic props.
When Miss Price says "we'd be delighted [to join Mr. Browne for luncheon]," Mr. Browne asks if the children belong to her.
At the townhouse where Mr. Browne is staying, Miss Price explains to her what substitutiary locomotion is and why she wants the spell.
The second nursery scene, in which Paul discovers the book "Isle of Naboombu," is put before "Eglantine", whereas it was formerly after it.
The song "Eglantine" is restored to its entirety.
The song "Portobello Road" is restored to its entirety, as its subsequent dance sequence. The main song adds a scene with a used clothing merchant and another scene where Charlie and Paul play cricket. In the dance, the Caribbean dance now precedes the Irish dance. Unlike the rest of the formerly cut scenes, the tail end of the Irish dance and the beginning of the dance's climax only existed as a faded work-print that had to be digitally scanned and cleaned before it could be brought back to a passable state.
Mr. Browne tells Swinburne that the bed once belonged to royalty and is being offered to the Bookman as a present, while the children push the bed through the door.
Mr. Browne rebuffs the Bookman's offer to swap sections of the book, but relents when he is threatened.
A scene in the village store where Mrs. Hobday meets Mr. Browne and suggests he should marry Miss Price. Mr. Jelk walks in and overhears them.
The song "Nobody's Problem's for Me" is reinstated after Mr. Browne leaves the house. No orchestral track existed, so the studio recorded a new one.
It is unfortunate that this film receives such little comment, as compared to "Mary Poppins", for the simple fact that most people DO compare it to "Mary Poppins" amd really, it stands alone.
The story is quite original and well done. The actors are all wonderful, and Angela Lansbury, to me, will always be Miss Price. David Tomlinson is also wonderful as Professor Browne. The children are also great, with the standout being the youngest one, Paul. He has so many funny moments in this movie.
Again, the Sherman Brothers lend their creative song-writing talents to this film with excellent results. "The Age of Not Believing" is wonderful, as is "Eglantine", "The Beautiful Briny" and the superb "Portobello Road" number. The animation scenes are also great and imaginative.
This is certainly an enjoyable film on many counts, and should be remembered just as so many of the other Disney classics. It should also be seen in the recently restored version, which runs over two hours. The story is more fluent in that version, and the songs are intact, for the most part. A great movie.
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