Dougal and the Blue Cat
|Dougal and the Blue Cat|
|Directed by||Serge Danot|
|Produced by||L. Auclin
|Written by||Eric Thompson (English Version)
|Narrated by||Eric Thompson|
|Distributed by||Valoria Films (France)
EMI Films (UK)
United Artists (US) (Distribution only)
PolyGram Video (UK Video)
|Release date(s)||December 1970 (France)
|Running time||85 minutes|
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (November 2011)|
One morning in the magic garden, Dougal the dog is yelling at his cuckoo clock for dropping its pendulum on his bed. He suddenly realises that something strange happened last night, and he takes the train to speak to Zebedee about it. After a talk with Ermintrude (who is standing on the railway track), Brian (who is a bit faster than the train), Dylan (who is watching the mushrooms grow), and Mr. Machenry (who is tending his crops), he finds Zebedee conducting an orchestra of French lollipops. Once the lollipops leave on the train, Dougal tells Zebedee about what happened last night. He got to bed early, because he was tired from all his work. After a few seconds of sleep, he woke up. He got out of bed and heard a loud shriek. It was an owl who said to him "'Allo, cheeky!". Dougal then heard something even more sinister. A voice. After he hears the voice, he hears a second, female voice. They were coming from the old treacle factory, which had been shut down. After observing the scene from a red tree, he hears the female voice again. He returned to his bed and got back to his rest. After the flashback, Zebedee asks Dougal if he was not dreaming. After Dougal asks himself if he's "going dotty", Zebedee bounces away. Dougal then goes to see Florence.
Florence is busy cleaning her house, then she leaves for the roundabout. Her friends show her something on the magic roundabout. A blue cat. After doing a small dance, he decides to be named Buxton. Zebedee tells Florence that Dougal has a "problem". While Florence's friends ride on the roundabout, Florence goes to speak to Dougal, who is picking flowers. Florence introduces Dougal to Buxton. Dougal, jealous of the attention directed toward Buxton, dislikes him and tries to convince him that he, Buxton, will not like staying in the Garden because of the rain. At the bridge, Dylan, Ermintrude and Brian meet him as well. Ermintrude says that "Blue is beautiful". This reminds Dougal about what happened last night at the treacle factory. Everyone, with the exception of Dougal, decides that Buxton should sleep at Dougal's. They make the bed for him, while the cuckoo puts his pendulum back on the clock.
Meanwhile, Florence is picking blue flowers and Dougal is taking a walk, he accidentally steps on a platform, and is elevated. Buxton hears this and goes off to the treacle factory. Once he gets there, he introduces himself to the blue voice (played by Fenella Fielding).
Buxton enters the ruins of the old treacle factory where he is crowned King after correctly identifying the colours of seven doors (coloured different shades of blue). At the entrance, he is warned that he will get shot by a crossbow if he guesses incorrectly or forgets. He recognises the first door as blue. When he enters the next room, he discovers a machine sorting out blue flowers and dumping the other colour flowers. The blue voice then says her famous line "Blue is beautiful, blue is best. I'm blue, I'm beautiful, I'm best!". The second door is cobalt blue. Buxton enters a room with piles of clothing. A large machine is collecting the blue clothing and putting the other coloured clothing in a trunk. The machine also accidentally puts a blue sheet onto Buxton. Buxton correctly guesses the third door to be Saxony blue. In here, he meets an array of scary masks. Once he escapes, Buxton goes through the fourth door, which is indigo. Buxton finds himself in an observatory-like room. He finds the fifth door to be baby blue, though he momentarily forgets. He then enters the room of thunder and lightning. The next door is Prussian blue. He finds the guard room, where his blue men are created. Buxton then jumps through a small gap in between his men to reach the final door, royal blue. After being crowned, he sings a song.
Meanwhile, Ermintrude is painting blue pictures. Brian inadvertently helps Dougal down from the hoist by chewing the rope holding it. Dougal then tells everyone that Buxton is evil, but nobody believes him. A blue cactus then shows up while Ermintrude is showing Buxton all her paintings. Buxton informs everyone that the cacti are the "fast-growing" variety, and is happy to see it. Zebedee arrives, and informs everyone that his moustache has gone missing from his bedside table. The group search for the magic moustache, whilst Buxton sneaks off to the treacle factory.
Buxton tells his army to capture everyone. The army leaves, singing a song. Buxton observes through a periscope. Buxton's army eventually captures every character, except Dougal, and they are imprisoned. Buxton reveals himself to be in possession of Zebedee's magic moustache, so they are unable to escape with magic.
Dougal has the idea to dye himself blue, and he heads towards the treacle factory. Here, he falls through a trapdoor, and straight into Buxton's royal chamber. Dougal introduces himself as Blue Peter. Buxton comments on the fact that "Blue Peter" is very similar to Dougal, but when Dougal says that he hates sugar. Buxton proceeds to lock Dougal in a torture chamber, which is a room full of sugar cubes. Dougal faces the dilemma of eating the sugar, and revealing his true identity, or resisting the sugar, thus earning Buxton's trust. He resists, and is released from the room and given the title of Prime Minister.
Dougal takes a "tour" of the caves beneath the treacle factory, and manages to locate the place where Buxton has imprisoned everyone. They identify him as Dougal, but he tells them to call him by his alias, Blue Peter, as he may have been followed. At this point, Buxton shows up, Ermintrude and Brian call Dougal a "blue-bag", and Buxton warns them not to mock his Prime Minister.
Madam Blue orders Buxton and Dougal to conquer the Moon. Whilst on the Moon, Dougal falls in a puddle and his dye washes off, revealing his true identity. The pair begin to fight, and manage to make it to the rocket, where they continue to fight. Dougal is pushed out of the rocket, but his parachute deploys, and he makes it safely back to the factory. Buxton, meanwhile, remains in the rocket, which crashes inside the factory, and causes him to feel unwell. Buxton tells Madam Blue that Blue Peter was really Dougal, Madam Blue becomes infuriated and strips Buxton of his title. Meanwhile, Dougal frees everyone from the prison cell, and they escape the treacle factory. However, Brian tries to tell Dougal that they've forgotten something. Brian takes it upon himself to enter the factory on his own.
The group return to the magic garden, and come across Buxton. The factory is shown collapsing to the ground. Brian's whereabouts is questioned, and Dougal says that Brian went back into the factory. The group begin mourning Brian, and Dougal tells Buxton that he should "blush for shame". Buxton flashes between red and blue a few times, before turning white. Brian appears, and says that the group should forgive him. After this, it snows and Mr. Rusty gives everyone a ride on the magic roundabout.
Home video and other media releases
In 1970 an LP of Pollux et le Chat Bleu was released in France by Disques Somethin' Else (presented by the French distributor Valoria Films), a novelisation of the film written by Serge Danot was published in 1971 by Hachette Bibliothèque, and there has also been a French VHS release by Polygram/Universal in 1994.
On 1 January 1972 Music for Pleasure released an abridged LP record of the soundtrack of Dougal and the Blue Cat in Stereo (MFP50017)- (the original mono soundtrack was electronically enhanced for stereo effect) credits: Original story written and directed by Serge Danot, English version by Eric Thompson, Music by Joss Baselli, Produced by Disques Somethin' Else copyright 1972, music published by Lupus Music, and a single (FP 10006) of three songs from the film ('Florence it's a Lovely Morning/Florence's Sad Song/Success!King Buxton') sung by Eric Thompson, credits: A DANOT original soundtrack recording of the Nat Cohen/Anglo-EMI film. In 1973 a storybook of the film was published by Dean and Sons (24 pages).
Polygram Video released the film on VHS in 1989 on their Channel 5 label. It was also re-released on the 4Front label in 1993 and by Second Sight films in 1999. A scriptbook, claiming to be the original screenplay, of the film by Eric Thompson was published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC in 1999, and features colour stills from the film.
A restored print of Dougal and the Blue Cat was released on DVD in the UK on 1 November 2010. This release by Second Sight also features the original French version of the film Pollux et le Chat Bleu, interviews with Phyllida Law and Emma Thompson, an overview by film critic Mark Kermode and a photo gallery featuring the original cinema lobby cards of the French release.