The AristocatsThe Aristocats (1970) Feature Length Theatrical Animated Film by Dave Koch
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- Walt Disney Studios
- Animated Characters: Duchess, Abraham de Lacy Giuseppe Casey Thomas O'Malley, Berlioz, Marie, Toulouse, Roquefort, Edgar, Madame Adelaide Bonfamille, Georges Hautecourt, Uncle Waldo, Frou-Frou, Napoleon, Lafayette, Scat Cat, Chinese Cat, English Cat, Italian Cat, Russian Cat, Abigail Gabble, Amelia Gabble, French Milkman.
- Originally Released in 1970.
- Running Time: 78 minutes.
- Dec 24, 1970- Original US Theatrical Release date
- Apr 24, 1996- VHS Masterpiece Collection Release
Cartoon Production Information:
When Gold Key Comics began its brief series of "Aristocats" spin-off stories, the Russian cat was named Boris, the British cat Cyril, the Siamese cat Chino, and the Italian one Luigi.
It's worth noting that Scatman Crothers did the voices of 3 separate characters named Scat Cat throughout the 1970's: for Disney (1970), Hanna-Barbera (1977: in "The Skatebirds"), and Don Bluth (1979: in "Banjo the Woodpile Cat").
This was the 20th film in the official Disney list of animated films.
Maurice Chevalier came out of retirement to record the jaunty tide song (in French and English). Although Chevalier later wrote "I would not have done it for anybody else or for any kind of money, except the honor of showing my love and admiration for the one and only Walt," there was another connection. The song was written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, whose father, songwriter Al Sherman, had penned songs for Chevalier during his early movie career in the 1930's.
The Aristocats was a particularly important film for the staff of Disney's animation department. Shortly after Walt's death, Roy Disney sent for production head Bill Andersen and told him that he wanted the animation department closed down. Although Anderson explained the likely success of The Jungle Book (1967) and the strong development work already in place for The Aristocats, he agreed to Roy's request. He asked only for official notification from Roy, so Anderson might explain to the staff why the production unit was being disbanded. Luckily, the memo never came, The Jungle Book was a smash hit, production of The Aristocats went forward, and the ax never fell. Although some critics carped at the story similarities to 101 Dalmatians, The Aristocats was a critical and financial success, and served to reaffirm the popularity and preeminence of Disney feature animation.
Much like its recent predecessors, The Aristocats relied not on flash and showy animation, but on strongly-defined characters and situations to propel its story The animation staff had been so enamored of Phil Harris-not only for his personality, but for his stimulation of character development on The Jungle Book, that he was invited back to give voice to Thomas O'Malley the alley cat. (The character's full name is given as Abraham de Lacy Giuseppe Casey Thomas O'Malley). The team took a great many critical brickbats for using Harris's familiar voice, with the implication that it was a character development "crutch." But O'Malley is distinctly different-more a suave feline Clark Gable than Baloo's lumbering Wallace Beery bear.
Eva Gabor was cast as the voice of the elegant Duchess, and the supporting cast featured similarly strong voice acting by veteran radio, television, and film actors. Favorite Disney voice Sterling Holloway (The Cheshire Cat, Winnie the Pooh, Kaa the Snake) was Roquefort the mouse, Monica Evans and Carole Shelley (the Pigeon Sisters of The Odd Couple) were a pair of giddy geese, and Nancy Kulp, Miss Jane Hathaway of "The Beverly Hillbillies," was Frou Frou, the horse.
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