THE ARISTOCATS [1970] – short review

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Written by: , ,
Starring: , ,


Retired Countess Adelaide Bonfamille lives in her Paris villa along with her Duchess and three kittens: pianist Berlioz, painter Toulouse and sanctimonious Marie.   She makes a will which dictates that she will leave everything to her cats until they die.  When supposedly loyal butler Edgar overhears this, he puts sleeping pills in the cat’s milk and kidnaps them with the intention of dumping them in the countryside.  However two retired army dogs make his sidecar capsize on the country.   They wake up alone and scared, but are then befriended by crafty stray cat Thomas O’Malley who, despite being someone who normally just thinks of himself, takes them under his wing and starts to lead them back to Paris…..

The Aristocats is an enjoyably breezy and very charming Disney animated feature, but, in being the first one not to be based on a written source, it suffers a great deal from cribbing a fair bit from the far decidedly superior 101 Dalmations and The Lady And The Tramp.  It even has a character, voiced by the same person Phil Harris, who is basically The Jungle Book’s Baloo transformed into a cat.  The animation is distinctly uneven at first, especially the Countess’s annoyingly wavy hair, but improves as the film goes along, and while the sketchy, loose drawing style of this and the other 60s and 70s Disney movies [caused by the employing of the Xerox machine which transferred the drawings straight onto the cels] means it lacks the lush look of many of the other classics, the Parisian backgrounds are beautifully drawn and almost convey the perfect ideal of Paris as well as Ratatouille.  The story is sometimes padded out by slapstick humour, but is extremely inventive and very funny, while the kittens are cute and characterisation is of the usual high standard. Standouts are Abigail and Emilia, the geese who are like upper class English ladies, and young Toulouse, who is very funny and sweet the way he wants to be like O’ Malley.  Edgar is an unusual villain, motivated more by greedy than anything else, and he’s never especially scary, but the same goes for most Disney films of the era, where darkness doesn’t really feature much.  The songs are okay – ‘Everybody Wants To Be A Cat’ has a repetitive refrain you probably won’t be able to get out of your head for ages, but the others, some by the Sherman brothers, are simply average though certainly not bad.  Overall, The Aristocats is a fairly slight outing for the Mouse House, but it’s still a lot of fun and possesses the ‘magic’ in places.  It’s certainly infinitely better than thanTangled!

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

[pt-filmtitle]The Aristocats[/pt-filmtitle]

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About Dr Lenera 1981 Articles
I'm a huge film fan and will watch pretty much any type of film, from Martial Arts to Westerns, from Romances [though I don't really like Romcoms!]] to Historical Epics. Though I most certainly 'have a life', I tend to go to the cinema twice a week! However,ever since I was a kid, sneaking downstairs when my parents had gone to bed to watch old Universal and Hammer horror movies, I've always been especially fascinated by horror, and though I enjoy all types of horror films, those Golden Oldies with people like Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee probably remain my favourites. That's not to say I don't enjoy a bit of blood and gore every now and again though, and am also a huge fan of Italian horror, I just love the style.

2 Comments

  1. this is by far one of my favourite disney films!!! although I do agree there are many similarities with other early disney films!!! but I’m a cat lover………..

  2. Well I was possibly a little harsh in my review, though I still gave it 7 which is basically four stars out of five. Glad to see someone else has a soft spot for Disney films 🙂

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