Top 10 Disney Supporting Characters #2 Olivia Flaversham

Basil never does get her name right.

Basil never does get her name right.

Possibly the best kid in any movie ever– the fact that she’s a mouse is immaterial.

Miss Flaversham is the heroine of The Great Mouse Detective (1987).  I always had the impression that she was meant to be four-years-old, but that’s probably wrong.  Anyway, on her birthday, her toymaker father is kidnapped by Fidget the Bat, so she turns to Basil of Baker Street for help.  Dr. Dawson finds her on the street and takes her to the dectective, who, after hearing her description of the attacker (a bat with a peg leg) agrees to take the case.

She winds up being kidnapped by Fidget and used by Ratigan to make Mr. Flaversham create a robotic double of the queen, so the villain (Vincent Price) can take over the government.  Fortunately, Basil manages to defeat Ratigan and all is well.  The case marks the beginning of Basil and Dawson’s collaberation– none of which would have happened without this determined little mouse.

A character like Olivia could easily become cloying (like the woman in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes) or fade into the background, but she never does either.  She’s sweet and innocent, but she’s also tough, smart, and incredibly brave.  She knew who to get help from, and she wouldn’t let him brush her aside.  Later she stomps on Fidget’s (only) foot when he tries to keep her from hugging her father, and stands up to Ratigan when he uses her as a hostage.

She does break down in tears/terror a couple of times, but both times it’s perfectly in character and justified.  She knows she needs to find Basil, but can’t get to Baker Street on her own.  Then when Ratigan throws her into the gears of Big Ben.  Anyone will appreciate the terror involved when faced with the possibility of being crushed to death by a machine.

The detective also never gets her name right.  Unlike most people I know (including myself) she never falls into just letting him call her what he wants but corrects him every time and is visibly irked by getting “whatever” in response.  She’s an excellent role model, not only for the kids who see this Disney classic, but also their parents as well.  We could all stand to learn something from her courage, resilience, and no-nonsense attitude.


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