Welcome to Animation Monday and this week, we dive into the 20th movie released by Walt Disney Animation Studio….The AristoCats. The AristoCats premiered on December 11, 1970 before a full release on Christmas Eve in 1970. The film had a budget of $4 million dollars but made lots of money for the studio with a box office take of $55.7 million.
This film was one of only four films released by the studio in the 1970s along with Robin Hood, The Rescuers, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Like many animated movies of the time, The AristoCats is a short movie coming in at only 78 minutes in length.
The AristoCats is a movie that has a lot of history behind it. It was the last movie that was greenlit by Walt Disney, who greenlit the project back in 1966. It was the first starring role in a Disney animated production for Eva Gabor, who plays the main character of Duchess. Gabor would later star as Bianca in The Rescuers. This also marked the last time that The Sherman Brothers would write the title song for a Disney animated production. It is a very historical and pivotal movie in the history of Disney animated films.
After watching this movie, last night, to refresh my memories of the film, I found the song writing in the film to be the star of the show. This film is filled with great songs from Ev’rybody Wants To Be A Cat, a fun ensemble song with every cat character from the movie pitching in, to Scales and Arpeggios, where the Duchess brood practices under the watchful eye of Duchess.
Another thing I liked about the film was the kids (Marie, Toulouse, and Beriloz) do not dominate the film. They are all allowed to be talented in their own way. Marie – the singer, Toulouse – the painter and Beriloz – the pianist. Yes, they get into their share of trouble along the journey from the countryside back to Paris so they rejoin their owner, Madame Adelaide. But the trouble is nothing out of the ordinary. It’s typical kid stuff not the over-the-top trouble that kids on Disney productions get into now.
The story is basically a story where two characters from opposite sides of the tracks fall in love. The two characters, in this case, are Duchess and Thomas O’Malley, who finds The AristoCats after Edgar dumps them in the countryside in order to claim Madame’s Adelaide’s fortune when she passes under the terms of newly written will. Edgar and the scenes with Edgar were the parts of the movie that I didn’t like. They seemed to drag on and were very shallow in my opinion. There was very little character development and growth for the parts of Edgar, Napoleon, and Lafayette. They just served as bumbling interludes between the scenes with cats.
All told, this is a very solid Disney movie from a time where there wasn’t a Disney movie released every year. In fact, this movie was re-released twice to theaters (1980 and 1987) and there was even a sequel in the works in the late 80’s/early 90’s. However, this sequel was taken off the production schedule by newly promoted CCO John Lassiter. I would give it 3.75 Mickeys out of 5.
Are The AristoCats in the parks? YES!
Marie is available for pictures on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom. She is no longer available for pictures at the France Pavilion of EPCOT even though this is a more logical place for her meet and greet.
She also comes out for Eastertime at Disneyland Paris and has a year-round meet and greet at Tokyo Disneyland.
Sources for today’s post:
- Disney Character Central