Indulgence is required; the Greek chorus of the WordPress 4 have requested that I review the 1970’s Disney cat-related swingers musical The Aristocats as part of the on-going search for cultural meaning that includes us all. I had reasonably fond memories of seeing the good bits of this on Disney Time, a popular but now largely forgotten aggregator show remembered from the BBC bank holidays. This show featured a tv presenter or pop star who would stand around a rather dismal seaside resort linking clips of Disney movies. This not-so-subtle breaking of advertising rules was presumably because Disney was considered a high-end film-maker sharing content, but it worked out as a straight-up ad for their wares.
Despite live action successes mixed with animated ones, Disney corp was in something of a creative decline from The Jungle Book on. Here, we bring back Phil Harris for another go-around in the style of his lovable Baloo the Bear, this time as Thomas O’Malley, an alley cat who gets some kidnapped kitties out of all kinds of bother. Together with Duchess (Eva Gabor), kittens Tolouse, Marie and Berloiz have been left behind a fortune in a will by an aging matriarch, leaving the door open for her snide butler to stuff them in a sack and cat-nap them. The catties escape, with a little help from Thomas O’Malley, and soon get indoctrinated into open use narcotics by some heroin-addicted jazz cats led by The Shining’s Scatman Crothers doing a feisty Louis Armstrong impression.
The Aristocats is at its best when it gets a little rinky dinky dinky, a musical interlude featuring the song Everybody Wants to Be A Cat is the kind of perfect Disney moment the rest of the film sorely lacks, despite a few dated caricatures. The remainder is drab story-wise and animation wise; while the faces and characters of the wee cats are charming, the human world they interact with is rather 2D. There’s a lot of waffle in Wolfgang Reitherman’s film about wills and money; the opener is a total snoozer for all ages as various arcane legal matters are discussed.
Like The Jungle Book, The Aristocats falls into a formula of a couple of great songs and not much else. I would offer in its place, Gay Purr-ee, a superior 1962 Judy Garland predecessor about a nice little cat called Mewsette who gets lost in Paris. I think I had this back when I only had three books, and images from it are seared on my retinas for posterity. So don’t waste your time with these scaredy cat Disney aristocats, and come with me to explore the demi-monde with the modernist pussycats from Gay Purr-ee….
Hold on there just a minute. Am I right in detecting less than fulsome regard to The Jungle Book? One of the greatest Disney toons. and the best of the sing-a-long songs. Sure, Aristocats was start of a heavy decline but JB had arrested a decline that started with Sword in the Stone and to some extent 101 Dalmatians that was a bit too adult-friendly for my grandkids.
Wipes the floor with Puss in Boots and your Gay-puree. Everybody digs a swinging cat. Yeah baby!
I must agree…..here is one animated movie I actually have seen! Long live the aristocats!
Well I watch it’s last week and it wasn’t easily cobbling together three stars for this. Apart from that one song, nothing great at all.
Yay!! We are swinging cats!
Sigh. Only the Disney Time bit is worth watching. The kitties are cute, but then, we don’t have to watch a film to see cute catties, don’t we?
Well I don’t obviously. Rinky tinky!
That is the only good bit! Have you watched this recently?
Nope. No need, it’s in the old memory box. I’m like a chee-chee-chee-chee-rony like they make at home.
With a square in the act you can set music back
to the cave man days…
Finally a movie around here that people might actually want to see . . .
Gay Purr-ee looks like really sub-sub-Hanna-Barbera animation. Think I’ll stay with these cats.
Sigh. I’ll let Frank Grillo know what you said.
Frank Grillo’s favorite movie is The Aristocats! BoBa FaCt!
Pics of Grillo enjoying this film? I’ll wait.
You would doubt a BoBa FaCt? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you…
Grillo; Cocks shotgun, prepares to enter condo.
And my comment went to the wrong place, sigh…
You do that. He better not get in my grill-o. I’ll grill him good.
That is hardly the kind of aggressive comment that an Aristocats discussion board should contain. What would Duchess say?
She likes the rough stuff. And I would a hero and role model for Toulouse.
You are more like Edgar. That is what she told me. Just sayin’!
♪figero! figgero! figgggggerooooo!♪
Well, if we’re the greek chorus, I was just warming up….
I’ll warm you up in a minute, Bunty!
I could use it! 15F right now. No idea what that is in C, besides cold…
A warm blast from Frank Grillo’s flamethrower should toast you nicely…
Hold on, hold on, let me check my insurance policy..
mumble, rats, mumble, lightning, mumble, ahhhh there we go!
Yep, I have the Grillo rider, I’m covered.
Have at it Frankie boy…
Let him have it, Frank!
Boom goes the dynamite!