‘The Aristocats’ is the animated, feline version of a classic love story: a rich girl falls for a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. It's available for the first time on Blu-ray on August 21.
With the success of Lady and the Tramp, it's not surprising Disney would rework the story to feature another pair of star-crossed lovers from opposite sides of the track. Fifteen years later they introduced audiences to The Aristocats. This type of love story is timeless, so it still holds up more than 30 years after its initial release. Though the jazzy tunes probably have a little something to do with its longevity as well.
Mme. Adelaide Bonfamille is an elderly woman with no children or living relatives to whom she can leave her mass wealth. Therefore, much to her butler Edgar’s chagrin, she leaves her fortune to her beloved cat, Duchess, and her three kittens. It is only after their deaths that Edgar will become the sole heir. Having eavesdropped on the details, Edgar takes his fate into his own hands and determines to eliminate the furry obstacles to his inheritance. Fortunately his solution proves non-fatal. Away from the luxuries of home, Duchess and her litter rely on the kindness of alley cat Thomas O'Malley and his hip cat friends to help them return home.
Cuteness never goes out of style and these cats are adorable. A mix of feline movements and human emotions, they immediately endear audiences and create concern for their welfare. Duchess is beautiful and refined, teaching her kittens – Marie, Toulouse and Berlioz – all the necessary manners of high society. Marie is especially precious as she bats her eyes and plays the role of the perfect little lady to her advantage. And Toulouse is adorable when he does his raised hair, spitting impression of an alley cat. Thomas is the perfect gentleman, coming to the family's aid more than once.
There are story elements that you only catch as an adult years later, such as the lack of a father; the kittens hope Thomas will be their dad, but what happened to their biological father? The multitude of talking animals causes less confusion. Though the lovable drunk uncle gander would appear to carry a mixed message as well. Nonetheless, The Aristocats is a fun, heart-warming story that stands the test of time, with a few minor omissions.
Director:Wolfgang ReithermanStarring: (voices of) Phil Harris, Eva Gabor and Sterling HollowaySpecial features include: “The Lost Open”; “Oui Oui Marie” music video; deleted song “She Never Felt Alone”; “The Sherman Brothers: The Aristocats of Disney Songs”; “The Great Cat Family (excerpt)”; “Bath Day” short; Disney song selection; The Aristocats scrapbook; and Disney Virtual Kitten. (Disney Pictures Home Entertainment)