MovieChat Forums > The Three Lives of Thomasina (1963) Discussion > Loose ends that I wondered about this ti...

Loose ends that I wondered about this time


At age 14 I saw this in the theatre when it came out. I don't remember my mom or I having any questions whatsoever about it. We just loved it. I am now showing it to my grandchildren age 7 and 3 and they are mesmerized by it (they don't like all of the Disney movies I try to show them).

I watched it all the way through today and certain things are puzzling to me.

1. Mr. McDhui said the cat had tetanus, and told the housekeeper to burn or clean the girl's clothes. But if he thought it was catching, which apparently it is not, why was he not concerned about the child carrying it all the way home? It was much later he said to burn the clothes. Also why wasn't the cat disposed of or actually put to sleep by the assistant if it was fatally ill? How could the kids take the unattended "body" for the funeral and why didn't they notice that the cat was alive (as we know, the "witch" Lori found the cat alive in the box after the funeral and took it home).

2. The cat funeral was beautiful and moving. But wouldn't even kids bury the animal rather than leave it in a box for vultures to destroy it? Or is that the way they did it in Scotland - or anywhere - with pets?

3. What did they put in a tiny dish at the dinner table to add as a condiment, or was salt put in dishes to be added with a spoon in 1912 Scotland? It is impossible to tell what it is that McDhui puts on the side of his plate. And if the dad is so adamant not to feed the cat at the table why did he let her put a bib on the cat and seat it at the table in the first place?

4. I understand the immediate attraction between Lori and McDhui and how obvious it was for them to marry, but could they at least have one scene showing them getting closer following the reunion of Mary with the cat? It's a sudden jump to the wedding and then the happy new family at the dinner table. No linking scenes.

5. Why is this rated PG? Surely it was G when it was released. Was showing the badger's injured leg and some blood the reason? The discussion of animal cruelty at the circus? Does a movie have to be pure sugar and lightness to be rated G? I do discuss and explain it to my grandchildren, is this what PG "parental guidance" means? That they can take it only if parents explain? I mean there is a LOT to explain in a movie set in 1912 Scotland, let alone the things that happen in it. Does G mean you can sit the child in front of the tv and not explain anything? I think not. Bambi is rated G and it has a frightening fire scene which requires plenty of explanation and reassurance. Sleeping Beauty and many others are heavy on terrifying scenes that require explanation and reassurance.

Just wondered if other fans of this wonderful film ever wondered about those things I mentioned. The rest of it flowed very smoothly and the story was completely understandable. I think it is a classic story on many levels and one of the best Disney films ever made.

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1. I would look upon this as taking some clinical and procedural liberties for the sake of a story. We can imagine that Mr. MacDhui and his assistant, who were preoccupied with operating on the badly injured guide dog, may have misdiagnosed the cat's condition, and then in haste gave her a less than lethal dose of chloroform vapor, followed by procedural lapses that enabled the children to retrieve her afterward. I read the book many years ago, but I cannot remember how Paul Gallico handled these details.

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2. The cat funeral was beautiful and moving. But wouldn't even kids bury the animal rather than leave it in a box for vultures to destroy it? Or is that the way they did it in Scotland - or anywhere - with pets?

Didn't "the witch" Lori's arrival scare them away in the middle of the ceremony? Who knows what they were about to do?

4. I understand the immediate attraction between Lori and McDhui and how obvious it was for them to marry, but could they at least have one scene showing them getting closer following the reunion of Mary with the cat? It's a sudden jump to the wedding and then the happy new family at the dinner table. No linking scenes.

I think your noting how obvious the attraction was answers your own question. The wedding was a function of the denouement, so linking scenes would have just dragged out the narrative. I think MacDhui and Lori did enough bonding with the badger, the circus, and Mary's pneumonia, not to mention her patching him up after the fight. Even (especially?) in 1963 Disney, two unattached opposite-sex leads are heading down an inevitable path. Why drag it out?

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"Meretricious persiflage!" -- D.H. Lawrence

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