What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that younger and sensitive kids may be upset by the drugging and abandonment of a mom cat and her three kittens. For a brief moment the kittens can't find their mom. In some slapstick chase scenes it looks like animals or people could be injured, especially when Edgar the butler wields a pitch fork. Plus played for laughs are shots of Edgar the butler's underwear and a drunk goose weaving down the street.
What's the story?
Disney's animated story takes an elegant cat named Dutchess (voiced by Eva Gabor) and her three kittens out of their high-brow element when a cantankerous butler dumps them in the country after he hears the cats are to inherit his employer's fortune before him. On their way home the cats encounter O'Malley the Alley Cat who gets them out of a number of scrapes and introduces the brood to his jazz-playing "hep cat" friends. And just like Lady and the Tramp, Dutchess can't resist the charms of the scrappy O'Malley.
Is it any good?
The 2008 DVD re-release calls this a "Jazzy Classic," and sure enough the highlight is the toe-tapping song "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat." There's little plot (cats journey home) and the characters are less memorable than other animated animal capers like Lady and the Tramp and 101 Dalmations. Phil Harris, who plays Baloo from the original Disney Jungle Book, is fun as O'Malley, but lacks some of the rapscallion antics that would make him stand out.
Kids will love the silly chase scenes with Edgar the butler and the country hounds, Napoleon and Lafayette, especially the one around the windmill. They're choreographed for lots of giggles -- complete with failing-suspenders gags. But once the big jazzy number and madcap running about are over the movie falls flat. In a DVD extra one of the composers reveals a lullaby-like song that was left on the cutting room floor about the owner's love for her cats. That's the kind of sweetness that could have made this movie the cat's pajamas.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Edgar the butler. He doesn't seem really mean like Cruella De Vil, but he's still not nice to Madame's cats. How come?
Why does he go back to the country for his hat and umbrella?