A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that younger/more 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Disney's animated THE ARISTOCATS takes an elegant cat named Duchess (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, Duchess can't resist the charms of the scrappy O'Malley.
Is it any good?
The highlight of this jazz-infused adventure 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 Dalmatians. Phil Harris, who plays Baloo from the original Disney Jungle Book, is fun as O'Malley, but he 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.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: December 24, 1970
- On DVD or streaming: February 5, 2008
- Cast: Eva Gabor, Liz English, Phil Harris
- Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 79 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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