The Aristocats

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The Aristocats
Directed byWolfgang Reitherman
Produced byWinston Hibler
Wolfgang Reitherman
Story byKen Anderson
Larry Clemmons
Eric Cleworth
Vance Garry
Julius Svendsen
Frank Thomas
Ralph Wright
Based on"The Aristocats" by Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe
StarringPhil Harris
Eva Gabor
Hermione Baddeley
Gary Dubin
Dean Clark
Sterling Holloway
Roddy Maude-Roxby
Liz English
Music byGeorge Bruns
Produced by:
Walt Disney Cartoons
In association with:
Walt Disney Productions
Distributed byBuena Vista Distribution Company
(original theatrical release)
Buena Vista Television Distribution
(1989 Television syndication print)
Release date
December 11, 1970
(original theatrical release)
Running time
78 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$4 million[1]
Box office$55.7 million[2]

The Aristocats is a 1970 American animated musical adventure-romantic comedy movie. It was produced by Walt Disney Cartoons in association with Walt Disney Productions and released by Buena Vista Distribution Company. It is the 20th Walt Disney Cartoons full-length animated movie. The movie is based on a story by Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe. It is about a family of aristocratic cats, and how an alley cat helps them after a butler has kidnapped them to gain his mistress's fortune which was meant to go to them. The movie features the voices of Eva Gabor, Hermione Baddeley, Phil Harris, Dean Clark, Sterling Holloway, Scatman Crothers, and Roddy Maude-Roxby.

In 1962, The Aristocats began as an original script for a two-part live-action episode for Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color developed by writers Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe and producer Harry Tytle. Following two years of re-writes, Walt Disney suggested the project would be more suitable for an animated movie, and placed the project in turnaround as The Jungle Book advanced into production. When The Jungle Book was nearly complete, Disney appointed Ken Anderson to develop preliminary work on The Aristocats. It would mark the last movie project to be approved by Disney before his death in December 1966.

The Aristocats was released on December 11, 1970, to positive reception, and was a box office success.

Plot[change | change source]

The movie takes place in Paris in 1910. A mother cat named Duchess and her three kittens, Marie, Berlioz, and Toulouse, are going to receive a fortune when their owner dies. But Edgar, their butler, does not like this and plans to send the cats away.

He places sleeping tablets in their dinner. At night, he plans on dropping them off in the countryside. Two hound dogs, Napoleon and Lafayette, attack him, and the cats are now stranded.

In the morning, they meet an alley cat named Abraham de Lacy Giuseppe Casey Thomas O'Malley (called just Thomas O'Malley). He helps them on their way back home. He even lets them stay at his "pad" (the place where he and his "gang", or friends, stay).

They finally get back home, but Edgar recatches them in a sack and plans to send them to Timbuktu, Africa. O'Malley, Scat Cat and his gang, Roquefort and Frou-Frou all fight Edgar, while Roquefort rescues Duchess and kittens. In the end, Edgar is kicked into the trunk, locked inside, and sent to Timbuktu himself. Madame Adelaide's will is rewritten to not include Edgar and include O'Malley, and she starts a charity foundation which gives a home to all the cats in Paris.

Cast[change | change source]

  • Eva Gabor as Duchess - Madame Adelaide's cat and mother of three kittens. She has to choose between loyalty to Madame and her own attachment to Thomas O'Malley, until the end of the movie. Robie Lester provided the singing voice for Duchess.
  • Phil Harris as Thomas O'Malley (full name: Abraham de Lacy Giuseppe Casey Thomas O'Malley) – A wild cat who befriends Duchess and her kittens. He becomes a father figure to the kittens and falls in love with Duchess.
  • Liz English as Marie - the youngest kitten. She is something of a singer.
  • Gary Dubin as Toulouse - the oldest kitten. He idolizes all alley-cats, especially Thomas. He is also a talented painter, and is loosely based off of French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
  • Dean Clark as Berlioz - the second-eldest kitten. He is somewhat shy. He is also a talented pianist, and is loosely based off of French pianist Hector Berlioz.
  • Roddy Maude-Roxby as Edgar Balthazar - Madame Adelaide's butler. He tries to get rid of the cats in order to gain her fortune.
  • Scatman Crothers as Scat Cat - Thomas's best friend and leader of a gang of jazz-playing alley cats. Scat Cat plays the trumpet.
  • Sterling Holloway as Roquefort - A house mouse and also a friend of the cats. He helps the cats defeat Edgar.
  • Paul Winchell as Shun Gon - a Chinese cat in Scat Cat's gang. Plays the piano and drums made out of pots.
  • Lord Tim Hudson as Hit Cat - an English cat in Scat Cat's gang. Plays acoustic guitar.
  • Vito Scotti as Peppo - an Italian cat in Scat Cat's gang. Plays the accordion.
  • Thurl Ravenscroft as Billy Boss - a Russian cat in Scat Cat's gang. Plays the double bass.
  • Pat Buttram as Napoleon - a Bloodhound who attacks Edgar when he intrudes in the farm where Napoleon lives. Napoleon insists, whenever cohort Lafayette makes a suggestion, that he is in command, then adopts Lafayette's suggestion as his own.
  • George Lindsey as Lafayette - a Basset Hound and Napoleon's companion. He sometimes proves smarter than Napoleon, but is also more shy.
  • Hermione Baddeley as Madame Adelaide Bonfamille - a former opera singer and owner of Duchess and her kittens.
  • Charles Lane as Georges Hautecourt - Madame Bonfamille's lawyer. He is an eccentric, lively old man who provides comic relief by attempting stairs too steep for himself.
  • Nancy Kulp as Frou-Frou - Roquefort's horse companion, who subdues Edgar. Ruth Buzzi provided her singing voice.
  • Monica Evans as Abigail Gabble - a goose who befriends the cats.
  • Carole Shelley as Amelia Gabble - Abigail's twin sister.
  • Bill Thompson as Uncle Waldo - the drunken gander uncle of Abigail and Amelia.
  • Peter Renaday as French Milkman/Le Petit Cafe Cook/Truck Movers (uncredited)

Release[change | change source]

Home media[change | change source]

The movie was released on VHS in Europe on January 1, 1990. It was first released on VHS in North America in the Masterpiece Collection series on April 24, 1996.

In January 2000, Walt Disney Home Video launched the Gold Classic Collection, with The Aristocats re-released on VHS and DVD on April 4, 2000.[3] The DVD contained the movie in its 1.33:1 aspect ratio enhanced with 2.0 Dolby surround sound.[4] The Gold Collection release quietly discontinued in 2006. A new single-disc Special Edition DVD (previously announced as a 2-Disc set) was released on February 5, 2008.

Disney released the movie for the first time on Blu-ray on August 21, 2012.[5][6] The 2-disc Special Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo (both in Blu-ray and DVD packaging) features a new digital transfer and new bonus material.[7] A single disc DVD edition was also released on the same day.[8]

Soundtrack[change | change source]

  1. "The Aristocats" - Maurice Chevalier "The Aristocats" is the title song from the movie. It was written by Robert & Richard Sherman at the end of their eight years with Walt Disney Productions. Maurice Chevalier came out of retirement to sing this song for the movie's soundtrack. He recorded it in English as well as in French translation ("Naturellement - les Aristocats!").
  2. "Scales and Arpeggios" - Liz English, Gary Dubin, Dean Clark, Robie Lester
  3. "Thomas O'Malley Cat" - Phil Harris
  4. "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat" - Phil Harris, Scatman Crothers, Thurl Ravenscroft, Vito Scotti, Paul Winchell This song is sung by Scatman Crothers as Scat Cat, Phil Harris as Thomas O'Malley Cat, and Thurl Ravenscroft as Billy Boss the Russian Cat. It was also released as a 45 rpm single, in a version sung only by Phil Harris. That version doesn't have the cartoon voices of the other release. The soundtrack CD released in 1996 has an edited version of the song. The now politically incorrect lines sung by "Chinese Cat" voiced by Paul Winchell are removed.
  5. "She Never Felt Alone" - Robie Lester
  6. "Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat (reprise)" - Phil Harris, Scatman Crothers, Thurl Ravenscroft, Vito Scotti, Paul Winchell, Ruth Buzzi, Bill Thompson

Classic Disney: 60 Years of Musical Magic includes "Thomas O'Malley Cat" on the purple disc and "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat" on the orange disc. Disney's Greatest Hits includes "Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat" on the red disc.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Magical Kingdoms". Magical Kingdoms. 1970-12-24. Retrieved 2012-11-27.
  2. "The Aristocats, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
  3. "Walt Disney Home Video Debuts the "Gold Classic Collection"". The Laughing Place. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  4. "The Aristocats — Disney Gold Collection". Archived from the original on August 15, 2000. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  5. "The Aristocats (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Special Edition in Blu-ray Packaging)". Retrieved 2012-11-27.
  6. "The Aristocats (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Special Edition in DVD Packaging)". Retrieved 2012-11-27.
  7. "The Aristocats: Special Edition | Now On Blu-ray and DVD Combo Pack". Retrieved 2012-11-27.
  8. The Aristocats (Special Edition). "The Aristocats (Special Edition)". Retrieved 2012-11-27.

Other websites[change | change source]