Director Robert Young's made-for-TV musical, about a distaff Harry Potter type named Mildred Hubble (Fairuza Balk), features tunes by ANNIE composer Charles Strouse. Hapless Mildred lacks the finesse of other students at her school for sorcery and unlike snooty Ethel Hallow (Anna Kipling), who's mastered the art of laughing potions, Mildred botches all her class assignments. Not only does Mildred mix up an invisibility spell, but she can't even balance her pussycat on her broom handle. Headmistress Miss Cackle (Charlotte Rae) knows that Mildred has potential, but her home room teacher, Miss Hardbroom (Diana Rigg), does nothing but find fault. Only with great reluctance does Hardbroom offer Mildred a flying spot in an upcoming Halloween assembly when the Grand Wizard (Tim Curry) will be gracing the academy with a personal appearance. In the meantime, Mildred makes a mortal enemy of Ethel by accidentally transforming her into a pig; Ethel retaliates by sabotaging the broom Mildred will ride as part of the salute to the Wizard. At the same time, Miss Cackle's banished twin, Agatha (also Rae), has come home to toss out the school's white magic curriculum and embarrass Miss Cackle in front of the Wizard by ruining the holiday assembly. Mildred overhears Agatha's partners in mischief-making, but she seems an unlikely candidate to stop Agatha from taking over the school and giving witches a bad name. Can she rise to the occasion? Clearly intended as a Halloween perennial, this kiddie musical comedy is more trick than treat. Younger children may see themselves in the misunderstood heroine, but older kids may quickly tire of the cast's mugging.
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