Everybody Digs a Swingin’ Cat

The Aristocats – Released in 1970, this Disney feature was the last to have Walt’s approval, but he didn’t live to be involved with the production. It continues with the jazzy feel of The Jungle Book and once again features Phil Harris, Jack Benny’s old band leader, as a voice actor. The plot involves a rich lady who decides to leave her entire fortune to her cat Duchess and Duchess’ three kittens, with her butler Edgar receiving the money after the cats die. Instead of trying to prove his employer is insane, he instead decides the best solution is to drown the cats. He’s not the brightest guy, I suppose. The cats are saved when two hounds attack Edgar, and make their way back to Paris in the company of the alley cat Thomas O’Malley.

This is the character voiced by Harris, who uses pretty much the same voice as he did with Baloo, and his relationship with Duchess is quite reminiscent of Lady and the Tramp. Once again, we have the pampered female animal falling for the stray male. Along the way, they meet two English geese who are shocked that Duchess and O’Malley aren’t married. Once again, Disney has animals espousing human values. It kind of makes sense, though, because don’t male geese help to raise the goslings? Their Uncle Waldo, who was basted in white wine at a restaurant intending to cook him, is played as a comic drunk.

Also involved are Scat Cat, voiced by Scatman Crothers, and his jazz band, which includes a Siamese cat who’s basically an offensive Asian caricature. He’s a small part of the movie, but it kind of seems crazy that a children’s film from as late as 1970 would include such a character.

Anyway, getting back to the point, this was the first time I saw this one all the way through. I did enjoy the song “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat,” though (it was on the same cassette as “The Bear Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You”), and I still think that and O’Malley’s introductory song are quite fun. Speaking of music, I think this was the first Disney animated feature in a while to have a title song. Beth had seen the film several times as a kid, and told me she didn’t really like it on this viewing. I thought it was all right, but there wasn’t much to the plot. Oh, well.

This entry was posted in Cartoons, Music, Revisiting Disney, VoVat Goes to the Movies and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Everybody Digs a Swingin’ Cat

  1. Pingback: R-E-S-C-U-E, Rescue Aid Society | VoVatia

  2. Pingback: The Money Cat Knows Where the Money Tree Grows | VoVatia

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