Aristocats [VHS], The

Wolfgang Reitherman
Often forgotten about in the Disney back catalogue, The Aristocats is actually a fun, lively feline adventure, with plenty of zest and some terrific tunes too. Arriving in the wake of The Jungle Book, it’s not vintage Disney, but it still sets itself a high standard. The Aristocats is set in France in 1910, and tells the tale of a high society cat and her trio of kittens who are dumped into the backstreets of Paris by an angry Butler when they inherit a fortune from their owner. Here, they’re soon befriended by Thomas O’Malley (voiced by the unforgettable Phil Harris, who also lent his tones to Baloo in The Jungle Book) and a wild cast of characters, and it’s as much a cue as is needed for some jazzy tunes, fast-paced animation and a fun family adventure. As the last film to have been supervised by Walt Disney before his death, The Aristocats inevitably has a significant place in the back catalogue at Disney HQ. Yet many still overlook it, and that’s a real shame. There are well-realised Parisian locations, a good few chuckles, and a genuinely strong soundtrack that’ll stick in your head long after the credits have rolled. It’s good, too, to see Disney finally give the film the special edition it richly deserves. --Simon Brew

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