The Aristocats

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A 1970 American animated feature film produced and released by Walt Disney Productions.

Paris, 1910. The fabulously wealthy retired opera singer Madame Adelaide Bonfamille has decided to leave her entire fortune to her high-society pet cats. Her butler, Edgar, wanting the fortune for himself, drugs the felines with sleeping pills and abandons them in the French countryside... the night after the will was made... which isn't the least bit suspicious.

Unlike cats in the real world, classy Duchess and her three kittens decide to make their way back home with the help of streetwise alley cat Thomas O'Malley. Along the way, he takes them to hang out with his alley cat friends, who treat the pets to some anachronistic jazz music (accompanied by even more anachronistic psychedelic graphics). No prizes for guessing the ending: Duchess hooks up with Thomas O'Malley, and Edgar gets what's coming to him courtesy of the alley cats.

Tropes used in The Aristocats include:
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Yes, they did have motorcycles in 1910. They were invented in 1885. Likewise, the Métro 1 opened in 1900.
    • Anachronism Stew: On the other hand, swing music and a hippie cat in 1910.
      • Though, jazz was emerging...
      • In a children's book of the film, they say that jazz comes from America, meaning one of the cats they met brought it to Paris.
      • Then again, talking cats didn't come around 'till at least the '80s.
      • Some of the cars and trucks seen in the film appears to be from the 1960s. Justified, considering where Disney got those vehicles from.
  • Animal Talk: At the very least, cats, horses, mice and geese all speak the same language; a couple of talking dogs also appear, but we never see them interact with the cats.
    • A joke right near the end implies that either Madame can speak the animal language, or she just believes they speak.
  • Anti-Villain: Edgar is one of the few Disney Villains - if not the only one - who is not exactly pure evil; while he is greedy, he does not seem to be cruel. It would have been easy for him to just kill Duchess and her kittens, but instead, he chose to kidnap them and release them into the wild---and when that didn't work, he decides to send them to Timbuktu. Moreover, he's shown to have more redeeming features and is never willing to kill anyone.
  • Author Existence Failure This was Walt Disney's final film. He died during the late stages of its production.
  • Big "Shut Up!"
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three kittens: Marie (white), Berlioz (dark) and Toulouse (orange).
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Madame's attorney who has to be interrupted during an impromptu rendition of Carmen to actually work on a will.
  • Butt Monkey: Edgar. Also, Lafayette and Napoleon at times.
  • The Butler Did It: Edgar is Disney's epitome of this.
  • Caligula's Horse: A rare protagonistic version, as Madame intended to have her estate be given to her pet cats.
  • Captain Ethnic: O'Malley's pal, Scat Cat, who was modeled on (and almost voiced by) Louis Armstrong, leads a jazz band consisting of alley cats from England, Italy, Russia and China. All are stereotypical to an extent, especially the Chinese one.
  • Casanova: Implied with O'Malley, who lathers Duchess in praise like a pro. He later seems surprised by how true his comments were.
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted by the kindly Duchess and her kittens who are friends with a mouse named Roquefort. Used straight when Scat Cat's gang tries to eat Roquefort, then immediately subverted when he manages to spit out O'Malley's name and tell them Duchess and the kittens are in trouble -- they run off to go help.
  • Cats Have Nine Lives: The reason Edgar wants the cats out of the way; he figures that he will never inherit Madame's fortune because the cats will outlive him.
    • Considering Edgar's age and that cats can live for over 20 years, he could be right about them outliving him even if he's wrong about the nine lives.
  • Cat Stereotype: Thomas O'Malley is a Lovable Rogue orange or cinnamon male cat and Duchess is an upper-class all-white female cat. Also, Toulouse (an orange male kitten) and Marie (an all-white female kitten) fit orange cat and white cat stereotypes respectively. However, Berlioz (a grey male kitten) doesn't fit any of the grey cat stereotypes.
  • Chekhovs Gunmen: Roquefort, Frou-Frou, and Scat Cat and his gang.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: George and Uncle Waldo.
  • Cool Cat: A major theme of the movie. From upbeat wanderer Thomas O'Malley, to collectedly refined Duchess, to swingin' hep cat Scat Cat, the moral of the story is "nothing keeps a good cat down."
  • Cute Kitten: But, of course!
  • The Danza: Contrary to popular belief, Scat Cat was not originally intended to be voiced by Scatman Crothers, but by Louis Armstrong. It was, in fact, a coincidence when Armstrong turned the role down and it ended up going to Crothers, who just so happened to have a similar nickname.
  • Deep South/Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Despite the film's setting being in and around Paris, Napoleon and Lafayette - the two rural dogs - spoke with a distinctly Southern American accent. It won't be the last time their voice actors do this, either.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:

Abigail: You must meet Uncle Waldo.
O'Malley: Waldo?
Amelia: Yes, he's our uncle.

  • Disappeared Dad: The father of the kittens is never seen or mentioned, although they express hope that O'Malley will take up the job which he does.
    • Given the different looks and ages of Berlioz and Toulouse, there was probably more than one father actually.
      • That's how it usually is with cats, actually. Fridge Brilliance, anyone?
      • A sequel storybook was written sometime in the 80s. It obviously takes place after the movie as the geese sisters show up. But, O'Malley is completely absent from the story! Hmmm...
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Both uses of "Ev'rybody Wants To Be A Cat".
  • Disney Animated Canon: Depending on how you look at it, this film is either the last of Disney's "Golden Era", or the beginning of their Dark Age. It was the last movie Walt personally green-lit before his death, but the first he never worked on directly (The Jungle Book was the last film he produced).
  • Damsel in Distress: Duchess and Marie both fall under this trope.
  • Dude in Distress: O'Malley bravely dives into the water to save Marie, but it backfires when he himself can't swim back to shore and has to be rescued by two geese. Or, alternatively, from said geese.
  • Expy/Pigeonholed Voice Actor: O'Malley has a similar personality (and the same voice actor, Phil Harris) as Baloo from The Jungle Book. Harris would play another, even more blatant, expy of Baloo as Little John in Robin Hood.
  • The Edwardian Era
  • Fantastic Racism: Two words--Shun Gon.
  • French Cuisine Is Haughty: Featured a dish called Prime Country Goose a la Provençale, which is apparently "stuffed with chestnuts" and "basted in white wine."
  • Freudian Excuse: Edgar served Madame Bonafamille faithful and loyally all his life for having her leaving all her fortune to her cats which don't even know what is it.
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: Okay, admit it. Madame Bonfamille's pretty hot for an lady her age. This is actually most noticeable during the scene where she is shown climbing out of her bed and discovering that her cats are gone.
  • G-Rated Sex: While it's obvious the kittens had a biological father, no one ever really talks about it.
  • Gay Paree
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Marie is getting a disproportionate amount of attention in Japan, and is more frequently featured in the Disneyland Tokyo. The reason why? Japanese love kittens..
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Seriously, have you ever paid attention to the lyrics of Ev'rybody Wants To Be A Cat?

Duchess: If you want to turn me on/Play your horn/Don't spare the tone/And blow a little soul into the tune.

    • Don't forget that one of the characters (Uncle Waldo) is implied to be completely drunk in his debut scene. Lampshaded during this scene:

Waldo: *looking at a menu* Look! Look at this! "Prime Country Goose a la Provencale, stuffed with chestnuts"...? And "basted in white wine." *hiccups*
O'Malley: *looking disgusted* Basted? He's been marinated in it.
Waldo: Dreadful! Being British, I would've preferred sherry.

    • The scene with a sleepy Napoleon and Lafayette and a back-scratching Edgar is fairly full of innuendo.
    • Madame revealing herself to be extremely beautiful at night.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Chief is Napoleon.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: See "Tempting Fate".
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Averted with Toulouse, who is pretty much the only character who suspects Edgar from the beginning.
  • Hot Mom: Duchess, as far as the cat world is concerned.
  • Human Mail: Edgar attempts to mail the kittens and cats away to Timbuktu at the end of film. In the end, he himself gets thrown into the chest, and is mailed off.
  • Humiliation Conga: Edgar suffers three of these: twice when running into Napoleon and LaFayette, and once more as he is first attacked by O'Malley and Scat Cat's gang, then gets restrained in a halter, a bucket dumped on his head, kicked by a horse and finally sent to Timbuktu instead of Duchess and her kittens (as he had intended).
  • Hypocritical Humor: "That old birdcage? Poppycock! Elevators are for old people!" said by the lawyer, who has to be well into his 200s.
  • I See London: Edgar, repeatedly.
  • Illegal Guardian: Edgar.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain
  • Jerkass: The milk truck driver.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Some fans don't blame Edgar for trying to get rid of the cats (not killing them) - come on now ! You have to wait some cats will die before inheriting a fortune?!?
    • Except that he basically did inherit everything. He'd get to live in the house, have access to all of the money, and in exchange, all he had to do was take care of the cats to fulfill the requirements of the will.
      • Given how long he'd worked for her, it seems like taking care of her beloved cats after her death was the least he could do if she was still providing for all of them. He was just unwilling to do it.
  • The Jimmy Hart Version: The Goose Sisters' theme music is remarkably similar to "Baby Elephant Walk".
  • The Kids Are American: And their mother is Hungarian.
  • Large Ham: Uncle Waldo, Georges, Lafayette, and Edgar.
  • Lightning Reveal: As Madame lifts the curtain on the cats' bed.
  • The Load: Not only did Marie need constant saving, O'Malley eventually ends up carrying her on his back.
    • To be fair she is just a kitten...
  • Meaningful Name: Translated from French, Madame Adelaide Bonfamille's last name literally means "good family".
    • And her first name comes from a Germanic word meaning "of a noble kind".
  • Mid-Battle Tea Break: QUIET!
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Totally subverted. Edgar is shown to be never willing to kill Duchess and her kittens, but just to send'em away from him.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Near the end when Roquefort is trying to crack the lock on trunk holding the cats.
  • Mysterious Animal Senses: Just from sound, Napoleon can tell what size and shape shoes Edgar is wearing (though colour? That's just ridiculous), and can also identify a one-wheeled haystack.

Napoleon: Let's see. They're Oxford shoes, size nine and a half. Hole in the left sole, it sounds like.
Lafayette: What color are they?
Napoleon: Why, they're bla-now how would I know that?

    • And they ARE black...
  • Nice Mice: Roquefort.
  • No Fourth Wall: The last scene.
  • No More for Me: At one point, a man sees Scat Cat and his gang run past, with Roquefort apparently in hot pursuit (he's just trying to catch up so he can tell them where they're headed) and promptly pours away his bottle of wine.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Bill Thompson as the hilariously drunk Uncle Waldo.
    • Even the main characters comment on it. "I like Uncle Waldo." "Yes, especially when he's 'marinated.'"
    • Unfortunately, this was also Bill Thompson's final role in an animated film, due to him dying of a heart attack a few months later.
  • Overly Long Name: Thomas O'Malley's full name is Abraham De Lacey Gi-u-sep-pe Casey Thomas O'Malley. He introduces himself with an "I Am" Song based on the name.

Duchess: Your name seems to cover all of Europe!

    • He later calls himself "J. Thomas O'Malley", so it's possible the Overly Long Name is just something he made for the song.
  • Papa Wolf: O'Malley.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Duchess and Thomas.
  • Parental Bonus: Most young children won't catch the pun on "aristocrats," but their parents will.
  • Pet Heir
  • Pun-Based Title: Let me guess...they're cats from the upper class?
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom
  • Sarcasm Mode: Although O'Malley's compliments of Duchess seem fairly genuine, the way he lathers the geese seems to be dripping with sarcasm.
  • Say My Name: O'Malley learns Marie's name solely due to the number of times Duchess yells it when she gets into trouble.
  • Shout-Out: The kitten Berlioz is learning to play piano, while his brother Toulouse is a painter.
    • This isn't the first animated Disney film to feature a moving van in the climax. In fact, they even simply used the exact same van for the one the cats use to dispose Edgar at the end of the film!
    • Shun Gon apparantly bears some resemblance to the Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp.
  • Smug Snake: Edgar becomes this when he thinks he's gotten rid of the cats for good.
  • Spit Take: Edgar, when he hears meowing at the door.
  • Spoiled Brat: Marie acts like one sometimes.
  • Straight Man: Napoleon.
  • Stock Footage: It's pretty clear Disney was already experiencing the financial woes that forced them to make their next film, Robin Hood, so economically. The difference here is that the recycled animation is also from this film. This shot and this shot occur less than three minutes apart from each other in the movie.
    • Many of the vehicles in the film are actually recycled from One Hundred and One Dalmatians, especially the Baduns' truck and the moving van. Because of time and money constraints, rather than give both the milk truck and the baggage van completely original designs, Disney simply reused those two vehicles for these roles in this film, respectively.
  • Street Smart: O'Malley.
  • Talking Animal: To be specific, translated animal.
  • Tempting Fate: "You're going to Timbuktu if it's the last thing I do!" Guess who ends up going there instead!
    • "It's not exactly the Ritz but it's peaceful and quiet an-" Cue the lights turned on and Scat Cat and the gang playing music.
  • That's All Folks: The dogs at the end of the film.
  • That Was Not a Dream: Toulouse wakes up while being kidnapped. He somehow gets back to sleep, and when he wakes up again, he dismisses the events as a dream at first.
    • It happened to Madame, too, although her dream probably didn't show Edgar committing the deed, or she'd have suspected him.
  • Theme Naming: Toulouse, Berlioz, Napoleon, LaFayette...
  • Those Two Dogs: Napoleon and LaFayette.
  • What Song Was This Again?: "Ev'rybody Wants To Be A Cat" becomes Every cat is a musician in the Greek version, "Everyone wants to play some Jazz" in the Italian version, and "Cats need lots of music" in the German version.
  • White and Grey Morality: The protagonists are a family of good cats. The antagonist is a greedy butler who, on the other hand, probably served faithfully Madame Bonfamille the whole life and he arguably had rights to the inehritance.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Edgar basically "turned evil" after he learns all the inheritance will pass to the cats.
  • You Fail Animal Care Forever: Pouring half a bottle of sleeping pills into a bowl of milk and feeding it to cats is a fantastic way to get them killed. If nothing else, it will do a mouse in quickly.
    • But cats have nine lives! At least, that's what Edward thinks!