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Western Animation / The Mousehole Cat

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A merry place you may believe
T'was Mousehole 'pon Tom Bawcock's Eve
To be there then, who wouldn't wish
To sup on seven sorts o' fish
"Tom Bawcock's Eve" (1927), by Robert Morton Nance

The Mousehole Cat is a 1994 animated short film based on the children's book of the same name by Antonia Barber.

The story is based on the Cornish folk hero Tom Bawcock. According to legend, he was a fisherman in the town of Mousehole who, during a terrible winter storm that left the townsfolk on the verge of starvation, pulled off a Christmas Miracle by catching a haul of fish big enough for the entire town to feast on. The film and book tell this story from the perspective of Tom's beloved cat Mowzer, who accompanies him on his fateful excursion.

The short was commissioned by Channel 4 and narrated by Siân Phillips.

The Mousehole Cat provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Animated Adaptation: Of the children's book of the same name.
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted with Mowzer and played straight with the Great Storm Cat.
  • Cool Old Lady: Mowzer is a cat version.
  • Food Porn: The various beautifully painted fish dishes.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Old Tom, and by extension Mowzer, are prepared to make one if they have to. Tom even says they'll either get the fish or die trying.
  • "Just So" Story: Provides the origins of Tom Bawcock's Eve, a festival held in Mousehole on December 23rd.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Old Tom is one and his cat loves him dearly.
  • Limited Animation: A stylistic choice. The short feels more like an illustrated book with a few frames of animation per page than a traditional cartoon.
  • Making a Splash: The Great Storm Cat controls the sea.
  • More Expendable Than You: Tom's justification for going out for a catch, since he's a widower and their children have moved on.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Mowzer's singing tames the Great Storm Cat.
  • Setting Update: Appears to be set in the 1800s, although Tom's inspiration, Tom Bawcock, is said to have lived in the 16th century.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Mowzer comes to pity they Great Storm Cat when she realises how lonely he must be.
  • To Serve Man: The Great Storm Cat likes to eat the "mice-men".
  • True Companions: Mowzer and Old Tom.