A Disney movie perfect for the cat lover in all of us (unless you like dogs). Released in 1970 The Aristocats was the last film approved by Walt Disney himself before he passed away. It proved to be a big hit with critics and audiences, and I am half convinced this is the reason why my brother is a cat person. If you haven’t seen The Aristocats spoiler alert is ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.
Taking place in 1910 Paris retied opera singer Madame Adelaide Bonfamille (Hermione Baddeley) is the owner of four cats: Duchess (Eva Gabor) a gorgeous white furred cat and her adorable kittens Toulouse (Gary Dubin) Berlioz (Dean Clark) and Marie (Liz English). (On a side note while Marie is white like her mother, Toulouse has orange fur and Berlioz has black fur; how that works I have no idea). Madame and the cats live in a beautiful mansion with her English butler Edgar (Roddy Maude-Roxby). When preparing her will along with her wacky lawyer Georges (Charles Lane) Madame declares that her cats will inherit her massive fortune and when they die it will be passed to Edgar. Edgar overhears the conversation and plots to get rid of the cats. Sedating them he drives out to the country to abandon them; but is sort of thwarted from going any further. Madame and their friends Roquefort (Sterling Holloway) a mouse and Frou-Frou (Nancy Kulp) a horse discover the cats are missing and become worried (only the animals realize Edgar is responsible). The cats wake up and are determined to find a way back home, but they are not alone. In comes Abraham de Lacy Gilseppe Casey Thomas O’Malley; but is called Thomas O’Malley for short (Phil Harris) an orange alley cat. He agrees to guide them back to Paris and it becomes a big adventure; not to mention a romantic one for Duchess and O’Malley. We also meet some weird geese and O’Malley’s good friends Scat Cat (Scatman Crothers) and the Alley cats who play instruments and say how “Ev’rybody wants to be a Cat”. Can’t go any further without giving away the rest of the movie.
I’ve always thought this was an absolutely adorable movie. I loved all the cats in The Aristocats, but Marie was and always will be my favorite. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I quoted Marie as a kid, and maybe just a little today. The voice cast is amazing, writing is pretty good, animation (while recycled in a few places) is great and the musical numbers are catchy. I’ve caught myself humming Thomas O’Malley’s song as well as Ev’rybody wants to be a Cat. I’ve always wondered what happened after this movie, but the proposed sequel for this was never made; oh well I can imagine. If you like cats, and even if you don’t, The Aristocats is a very cute slightly underrated Disney movie worth watching.