Friday, April 29, 2011

Disn-A-Thon: The AristoCats (1970)

Retired madame Adelaide Bonfamille enjoys the good life in her Paris villa with even classier cat Duchess and three kittens: pianist Berlioz, painter Toulouse and sanctimonious Marie. When loyal butler Edgar overhears her will leaves everything to the cats until their death, he drugs and kidnaps them. However retired army dogs make his sidecar capsize on the country. Crafty stray cat Thomas O'Malley takes them under his wing back to Paris. Edgar tries to cover his tracks and catch them at return, but more animals turn on him, from the cart horse Frou-Frou to the tame mouse Roquefort and O'Malley's jazz friends. [imdb]
The AristoCats was the first feature animated film released after Walt's death, but it basically feels no different than any other back through 101 Dalmations.  In fact, if that movie was for the dog lovers in the world, this one was for the cat lovers.  Hell, it's practically the same plot, only with cats and far more subdued.

Honestly, the villain in this is very simple -- a mere butler who just wants his boss' inheritance -- but he really is quite evil if you think about it.  He drugs up some baby kittens and drops them off in the middle of nowhere in the dead of night.  Cruella De Vil at least kept the damn puppies awake (for a while)... but this butler guy just mixes some drug into the kittens' food and says "To hell with it if it kills 'em!"

Anyways, the opening song was sung beautifully by a retired Maurice Chevalier, who came out of his retirement simply to record this song for the people at Disney.  That's pretty awesome, if I do say so myself...

The special features on this "special edition" DVD set are some of the most bare-bones.  There's a tiny little feature on the music of the film, there's a little segment about cats throughout history, and then there's a Minnie Mouse short in which she's trying to give a bath to her cat.  That's basically it.

I suppose, since they don't have much else to say about the film, I won't be saying much more here either.