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The Aristocats (1970)

DIG THESE CATS...and all that JAZZ!

Directed by:

Wolfgang Reitherman

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 78 minutes

US Certificate: G UK Certificate: U

On DVD

Given the subject matter, I’d love to say ‘The Aristocats’ was the cat’s whiskers (it’s about cats, you see?) – but it’s not, so I won’t. Fittingly though, this last Disney movie to be given the nod by Walt himself is one that all ages will be able to get a bit of enjoyment out of. You might say it’s good, but it’s not purr-fect – and that’s the last cat pun in this review. Honest.

Eva Gabor provides the voice of Duchess, the posh pussy whose idyllic life with owner Madame Adelaide and her three kittens in 1910 Paris suffers a bit of a jolt. You see, when butler Edgar discovers the old biddy’s plans to leave all her worldy wealth to the four moggies, he decides it’s time for the cats in question to meet with an accident. So he drives them off to the countryside and, in a scene that’s bound to get him in deep soapy bubble with the RSPCA, dumps them in a stream. Boo! Hiss!

Thankfully, Duchess and co are soon befriended by cat-about-town J. Thomas O’Malley (Phil Harris), who likes to serenade the ladies with songs about how much he likes – erm – himself. He’s a bit like Craig David actually, only with less ridiculous whiskers. Anyway, despite the romantic connection being the equivalent of Audrey Hepburn falling for John Goodman, Duchess and O’Malley are soon making eyes at each other, and the pair set about leading the kittens back home.

By far the best thing about ‘The Aristocats’ is the big jazz number ‘Everybody Wants to be a Cat’. The sentiment is a load of old nonsense, obviously – who in their right mind would want to be a cat? – but you’ll struggle to find a musical interlude more likely to get your foot tapping in any Disney flick.

It's Got: Scatman Crothers filling in a vocal role originally intended for Louis Armstrong.

It Needs: Butter on their paws. Does that work?

DVD Extras A ‘Making Of’ featurette, an ‘Everybody Wants to be a Cat’ sing-a-long, O’Malley’s singing and painting game, scrapbook stills gallery, and a cartoon short titled ‘Country Cousin’ (which is about a mouse doing something or other). DVD Extras Rating: 7/10

Alternatives:

See it done with dogs instead in 'Lady and the Tramp'.

Summary

Cool for cats.

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