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>
The film premiered at New York City's Radio City Music Hall. The Music Hall's Christmas stage show ran so long that film premieres had to run less than two hours. After much debate, Disney cut the film down to 117 minutes. After the same thing happened to The Happiest Millionaire (1967) and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968), the Sherman brothers decided not to renew their contract with Disney. In 1995 Scott MacQueen, who headed Disney's restoration department, discovered that two of the cut songs, "With a Flair" and "A Step in the Right Direction", were still on the soundtrack album and quoted throughout the underscore. When he learned the extent of the film's edits, he persuaded Disney to reconstruct the longer cut. Sadly, the picture element of "A Step in the Right Direction" has yet to be located as of the present day. See more »
Miss Price is reading the instructions for Substitutiary Locomotion, and gets as far as "..five mystic words: these words are..." She turns the page, only to be badly disappointed that the rest of the book is missing - but in fact the end of that sentence should have been printed on the other side of the page which she was holding. See more »
King Leonidas is referred to on-screen by name, by is only credited as "Lion." 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.
I saw this film many years ago and I thought it was pure magic. It was a lovely film full of escapism which could be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
The performances throughout the film by it's actors and actresses are magnificent. The songs are great and the special effects are lovely for it's time. The story is a beautiful one.
I love films like this and I last watched this film around 1986. As I said earlier, it is pure escapism-one of those beautiful films which whisks you away from real life problems into a lovely fantasy world. It is pure brilliance.
I would recommend this film to anyone but particularly to young children born after it was released-even today in 2002 it can be enjoyed.
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