The Three Lives of Thomasina (1963)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Family  |  4 June 1964 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,611 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 7 critic

Thomasina the cat brings a family together, through her mysterious death and reappearance.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Susan Hampshire ...
Laurence Naismith ...
Reverend Angus Peddie
Jean Anderson ...
Mrs. MacKenzie
Wilfrid Brambell ...
Grandpa Stirling
Alex Mackenzie
Vincent Winter ...
Hughie Stirling
Denis Gilmore ...
Jamie McNab
Charles Carson ...
Ruth Dunning
Ewan Roberts ...
Constable McQuarrie
Oliver Johnston ...
Mr. Dobbie
Francis De Wolff ...
Targu (as Francis de Wolff)
Nora Nicholson ...
Old Lady


A young Scottish girl's cat, Thomasina, apparently dies at the hands of her widowed veterinarian father. The strained relationship between the girl and her father is eventually repaired with the return of Thomasina and the aid of a beautiful and mysterious "witch" who seems to have powers to revive and heal animals. Written by Jeff Hole <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Three Human Lives Wonderfully Bewitched by a Enchanted Cat! See more »


Drama | Family


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Release Date:

4 June 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Las tres vidas de Thomasina  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Karen Dotrice first appears in the film, before the opening titles, and says, "Thomasina!", her voice is actually that of Robie Lester, who also sings the theme song. See more »


In the scene at the circus where Lori goes to check on the abused animals, there is a man riding a horse in a ring. At first the horse is white. Later the same horse is gray spotted. See more »


Mrs. MacKenzie: For a clever man, you have a lot to learn.
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Village of the Giants (1994) See more »


Music and Lyrics by Terry Gilkyson
Performed by Robie Lester
See more »

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User Reviews

The Cat who Played God
14 April 2010 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

In sparkling 1912 Scotland, an orange tabby named "Thomasina" explains how she came to live with little Karen Dotrice (as Mary), her stern veterinarian father Patrick McGoohan (as Andrew McDhui), and housekeeper Jean Anderson (as Mrs. MacKenzie). The cat amusingly states the family originally named her "Thomas" until they "…got to know me better." At this moment, you know you're going to like this animal. We also learn the cat, speaking marvelously through Elspeth March, has been murdered. This extraordinary opening perfectly introduces the cat's personality, and prepares you for its death.

The opening theme song, written by folk singer Terry Gilkyson, is purrfectly infectious.

The story intensifies when "Thomasina" is crushed under an avalanche of crates, while prowling a fish market. With her young friends' help, Ms. Dotrice finds the cat, and brings "Thomasina" to her father. You'd think Mr. McGoohan, a veterinarian, would do everything possible to save his daughter's pet, which he promises to do - but, McGoohan is saving the life of a blind man's seeing eye dog, and orders "Thomasina" put to sleep. Before this, we've seen him make this decision about other animals, and wonder if his decisions are being made in haste. Later, we learn he suffers from guilt regarding his wife's death.

McGoohan thinks he can simply replace "Thomasina" with another cat, and cannot understand why Dotrice is taking the death so hard. Dotrice's friends, Vincent Winter (as Hughie), Denis Gilmore (as Jamie), and "Mary Poppins" co-star Matthew Garber (as Geordie), give "Thomasina" a child-like funeral, which is interrupted by a woman they both admire and fear - spooky Susan Hampshire (as Lori MacGregor), the superstitious town's resident "witch". Ms. Hampshire takes the animal, which, we learn, is NOT dead. But, before this, it has what could be described as a "near-death experience." Or, is it "Cat Heaven?"

It's all cleverly plotted, from Paul Gallico's original novel, with enough room to support differing interpretations.

Dotrice's depression worsens. She will have nothing more do with McGoohan, telling others, "My father's dead," and, "My daddy's dead. I killed him." Her young friends successfully plot to end McGoohan's veterinary practice. "Thomasina" recovers, but with amnesia; she stays with the witch, aware something is wrong with her life. When his daughter falls deathly ill, "man of science" McGoohan tries to reconnect with his Christian faith, lamenting, "I've forgotten how to pray." He also begins to connect with Hampshire, which leads to the most unimaginative part of the story. Still, this is an excellent, underrated film.

******** The Three Lives of Thomasina (12/11/63) Don Chaffey ~ Patrick McGoohan, Karen Dotrice, Susan Hampshire, Elspeth March

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