The Aristocats is in a handful of Disney films that I’m pretty neutral about. To me, there’s nothing spectacular about this film. It’s cute, but it’s not one I’ll pick up anytime.
What one needs to know about The Aristocats, is very little.
It was the first Disney animated film to be made after Walt’s death. He approved the story in 1966, the year of his death. It would take four years to complete.
Unlike most (but not all) of the animated features preceding The Aristocats, this film was inspired by a real story of a family of cats inheriting a lot of money. (Speaking of random true cat stories – why is there a cat for a mayor in Alaska?)
The Sherman Brothers composed the music. (Known for Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh, etc etc) except for Everybody Wants to be a Cat. Watch this: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1015971/ Trust me.
The villain is not exactly intelligent (and not really much of a villain). The plot line is weak. As Jon stated, it is kind of like a weird combination of 101 Dalmatians and Lady and the Tramp with cats.
However, the story-writers had some interesting references:
Toulouse (the orange kitten) is named for the French painter, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa.
Berlioz (the gray kitten) is named for Henri Berlioz, a French composer
Lafayette and Napoleon (the dogs) are named for French generals. Speaking of Lafayette and Napoleon….if the film takes place in France, why do they have AMERICAN southern accents? Why do they want the motorcycle? I don’t even know. They happen to be my favorite characters.
I’m sure I’m missing something else in there.
We see the return of both Phil Harris (Thomas O’Malley/Baloo) and Sterling Holloway (Roquefort/Winnie the Pooh, the Stork, etc.) Along with the return of Thurl Ravenscroft (Tony the Tiger, the singer in The Grinch, and famous Disney Parks voice)
Odd little fact about a piece of animation: in the scene where the kittens are almost hit by a train, the animators didn’t draw the shakiness. They physically were shaking the screen. Budget cuts! WOO!
Other odd things:
I do like to point out that Uncle Waldo, one of the geese, is drunk. Why was he drunk? Someone was trying to cook him in a wine sauce. Guess they didn’t know you should probably kill and pluck the goose first. Anyway….previously we’ve seen the two kings (and their manservant) in Sleeping Beauty drunk, along with Dumbo, Timothy, and some clowns in Dumbo, Gideon (the cat) and several boys in Pinnochio, and Bacchus and Jaccus in Fantasia drunk. In the next film, we’ll see Sir Hiss drunk. In all, it’s a relatively small amount of characters who appear drunk. However, it is odd that they appear at all. There are some people that argue Walt was a drunk. There are others who argue against it. (On the other hand, there are much worse arguments about the man.)
Speaking of arguments about Walt (which I don’t believe true, but this blog is not the place for that discussion): can we talk about just how racist “Everybody Wants to be a Cat” is? No? Okay.
Back to the geese….if they are trying to help the cats get home, why do the cats have to walk like geese? seems awfully nonproductive to me.
But the cats all magically live happily ever after (and don’t take 98 years to die).
I don’t understand a lot of things about this film. There’s certainly more questionable moments and motives than not. However, it’s still enjoyable.
GIFs to come.