The twentieth animated film in the Disney movie list, The Aristocats had the distinction of getting the last film to receive Walt Disney’s personal seal of approval. It was initially intended to be screened in two installments on tv, but was rapidly promoted to feature status. It ought to be noted that the fundamental premise of the film, an animated comedy about cats in France, called Gay Purr-ee had been produced in 1962 by UPA Studios. Of course, Disney secured the rights and pressed on, undaunted.
Set in Paris, The Aristocats follows the misfortunes of Duchess, voiced by Eva Gabor, and her 3 kittens. As the pampered home cat of Madame Bonfamille, a retired opera star, Duchess and her offspring are named heirs to the diva’s fortune. Outraged, her butler, Edgar, voiced by Roddy Maude-Roxby, is charged with taking care of the cats until their death, at which point he will inherit the fortune. Blinded by greed, Edgar grabs Duchess and her litter and tries to drown them in a nation swamp. Of course, his strategy is foiled and the cats live to see meet the cat, Thomas O’Malley, voiced famously by Phil Harris.
A rascal of the first order, O’Malley escorts Duchess back to Paris, where we meet Scat Cat and his gang of alley cats. Scat Cat was initially intended as a vehicle for Louis Armstrong. Certainly, even the mannerisms and all round look of the character was modeled on Armstrong. For an unknown private cause, Armstrong quit the movie at the last minute, forcing Disney to employ Scatman Crothers to fill in.
The story continues with Duchess returning to Madame Bonfamille’s property, only to be nabbed by Edgar again. A scuffle ensues, involving O’Malley, Scat Cat’s gang, Edgar the Butler, and Roquefort the property mouse, voiced by Sterling Holloway. Quickly the cats are triumphant, with Edgar sent operating for his life. All is effectively once again as Duchess and her kittens are welcomed home, along with O’Malley.
When it as released in 1970, the film enjoyed a decent run of excellent critiques. The animation, for the time, was regarded as cutting-edge. Additionally, it was a relatively successful film, enjoying a tremendous quantity of home rental revenues. It was officially released on VHS, in the United States and Canada, in 1996. The Gold Collection DVD was released in 2000. A new single-disc Specific Edition DVD was released on February five, 2008. The Blu Ray edition is nonetheless in the operates.