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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, November 27, 2014 - Edition No 925 

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ARISTOCATS, THE

SYNOPSIS:
It is 1910 in Paris, and eccentric millionairess Madame Adelaide Bonfamille (Hermione Baddeley) wills her entire estate to her family of adorable high society cats. Overhearing her plan, Edgar (Roddy Maude-Roxby) the greedy bumbling butler, catnaps Duchess (Eva Gabor) and her three mischievous kittens, Berloiz (Dean Clark), Marie (Liz English) and Toulouse (Gary Dubin) and abandons them in the French countryside. The charming Thomas O'Malley (Phil Harris), a rough-and-tumble alley cat, saunters by and offers to escort them home. Along the way, they stop at Thomas' 'pad' where Scat Cat and his band of swingin' jazz cats are having a jam.

"Made in 1970, Disney's 20th full-length animated classic, Aristocats, was the last feature to get the nod from Walt Disney himself. Enchanting and delightful, Aristocats is a playful, colourful adventure for the whole family to enjoy. It may not be Disney's best, but it's easy to fall in love with the stylish Duchess and her three kittens. There's lots going on in Madame's mansion – Toulouse is paw-painting, Berlioz is perfecting scales and arpeggios, while Marie sings from the top of the piano. Even the mouse is an ally. In the mould of 101 Dalmations, this heartwarming tale introduces us to an assortment of ambrosial characters – from flat-footed waddling geese Amelia and Abigail Gabble to the gentlemanly, hip Thomas O'Malley. Maurice Chevalier charms with the opening song, while Scat Cat and his band of swingers cut a mean tune (watch for the Siamese cat who plays piano with chopsticks!) The highlight is a lively version of Ev'rybody Wants To Be A Cat, from the Oscar winning combination of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, who penned the songs for Mary Poppins. An irresistible escape into a world far from today's stresses, Aristocats is suitable for all ages – from the young to the young at heart."
Louise Keller

"Disney animation has certainly come a long way in the last thirty years and, compared to a recent release like Tarzan, the Aristocats looks a little, well, dated to say the least. However, this only refers to the animation. The other aspects of the film are decidedly timeless and so charming it is easy to forgive any technical weaknesses. Upper-crust puss Duchess (voiced by the purrrfect Eva Gabor) and her kittens are struggling to find their way back to Paris after being dumped in the country by the evil butler Edgar, when they are befriended by a very cool alley cat called Thomas O’Malley. It is not long before Thomas is escorting Duchess and co. back home, though not before he has introduced them to the swinging scat cats he calls his friends. The musical number Ev’rybody Wants to be a Cat is the definite highlight of the film, and there are some downright ‘trippy’ (this one was made in 1970, folks) moments as the felines get a little funky and feisty. In the same vein as ‘Lady and the Tramp’, all ends happily, with Thomas O’Malley providing a nuclear touch to Duchess’s single parent family. The Aristocats is a nostalgic favourite of a few friends of mine, and it is easy to see why. It’s a happy, all singing, very cute and well told tale that will keep the kiddies enthralled while lightening a few older hearts."
Polly McLennan



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

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TRAILER

ARISTOCATS (G)
(US)

VOICES: Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Sterling Holloway, Scatman Crothers, Hermione Baddeley

DIRECTOR: Wolfgang Reitherman

SCRIPT: Ken Anderson, Larry Clemmons, Eric Cleworth, Vance Gerry, Tom McGowan, Julius Svendsen, Frank Thomas, Ralph Wright

ORIGINAL MUSIC: George Bruns
ORIGINAL SONGS: Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ken Anderson

RUNNING TIME: 76 minutes

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista

VIDEO RELEASE: October 20, 1999
RRP: $24.95







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