Walt Disney Productions
Starring: Eva Gabor, Phil Harris, Sterling Holloway, Scatman Crothers
Directed by: Wolfgang Reitherman
Synopsis: Duchess (voiced by Eva Gabor) is a beautiful while Persian cat who lives with her three kittens, Berlioz, Toulouse and Marie, in the mansion of the wealthy and loving Madame Bonfamille (voiced by Hermione Baddeley.) When Madame’s long-time butler Edgar (voiced by Roddy Maude-Roxby) finds out that she intends to leave her vast estate to her cats and he only comes after them, he schemes to get rid of them, dumping them in the French countryside. Fortunately they meet the worldly Thomas O’Malley (voiced by Phil Harris) who assists them in returning home.
Cinema Cats: Disney finally lets the spotlight shine on animated cats as the main characters in this wonderfully entertaining film that all cat lovers who grew up in this latter era of classic Disney remember so well.
Not only do we have Duchess and her kittens and the street-smart O’Malley, there is the notable scene when upon returning to Paris O’Malley takes them to his flat where he finds the place has been invaded by his jazz musician friends led by the talented Scat Cat (voiced by Scatman Crothers.) The use of jazz music in the score, even more pronounced than that used in 101 Dalmatians, really brings life to the picture, as does the unique use of color in the scene. Sadly missing from the original soundtrack album was Duchess’ moment to sing in the middle of their song. I don’t know if this has been amended in later releases.
Final Mewsings: Everybody wants to be a cat! Oh yeah!