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Western Animation / The Aristocats

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"Everybody wants to be a cat, because a cat's the only cat who knows where it's at..."
— "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat" as sung by Scat Cat (voiced by the legendary Scatman Crothers)

A man walks into a Disney studio and says, "Have I got a movie for you!"

The agent leans back in his chair and says, "Okay, tell me about this movie."

The man begins: "Talking cats!"

"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."

The agent looks baffled. "Wow... what do you call a movie like that?"

And the man replies with a smile, "The Aristocats!"

Released on Christmas Eve 1970, this marks the last film personally approved by Walt Disney himself, and is the 20th entry into the studio's extensive library. It was loosely based on an obscure story by Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe. Maurice Chevalier performed the opening song (in both English and his native French).

Has received a Spin-Off with Miriya & Marie, starring Marie as a Mentor Mascot to a Magical Girl.

On Spring 2022, a children's book/graphic novel series titled The Aristokittens (no relation to the Gold Key comic series) was released which stars Toulouse, Berlioz, and Marie reopening an abandoned cafe for animals called Parisian critter café. The first two books in the series ("Welcome to the Creature Cafe" and "The Great Biscuit Bake-Off") was released April 19, 2022 with the third "The Fantastic Rabbit Race" getting released October 10, 2022.

On January 20th, 2022, a live-action/CGI remake of the film was announced by Disney. Questlove of The Roots will direct and Will Gluck (Peter Rabbit) and Keith Bunin (Onward) will pen the script, with the film produced by "Olive Bridge Entertainment".

This Disney animated classic provides examples of:

  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Most of the cat characters wear only a collar or one or two token items of clothing.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Duchess struggles to stifle laughing at her kittens coining the nickname "Old Pickle-Puss Edgar" in reference to Toulouse's painting of him.
  • The Alleged Car: Or rather, alleged motorcycle, which is constantly backfiring under Edgar and seems continually on the verge of falling apart when in motion.
  • Alternate Animal Affection: Duchess and O'Malley share an affectionate moment by holding tails as though they are holding hands.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Borderline example is having swing music and a hippie cat in 1910, though Jazz was already 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. In reality, Jazz really came in France mostly with the American troops in 1917.
    • Some of the cars and trucks seen in the film appear to be from the 1960s. Justified, considering where Disney got those vehicles from.
    • Thomas O'Malley refers to the twin geese as "chicks". The usage of "chick" to describe a young female wasn't until the 1920s. However, under the hypothesis this is translated French, it totally works with the "poulette" used by the French dub, reported to date back to the Seventeenth Century. Considering this is translated animal talk, no word can be really considered incorrect: "chick" is just the English word that matches as close as possible the equivalent slang "meowing" to refer to a girl, in the French 1910s.
    • One of the destinations shown in the Metro is for Place Charles de Gaulle. In 1910, the real Charles de Gaulle was still a cadet at Saint Cyr and certainly didn't have anything named after him.
  • Anachronistic Animal: The film came out in 1970 but takes place in 1910. It features a Basset Hound character that doesn't resemble Basset Hounds circa 1900-1910. He has shorter limbs and longer ears than Basset Hounds of that period.
  • 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. They also all understand the human language, to Edgar's dismay. A joke right near the end implies that either Madame can speak the animal language, or she just believes they speak. The case of Edgar is ambiguous. The night he tries to steal back the stuff he lost to the dogs after dumping the cats, it looks like he is really good at guessing what they are suspecting (or maybe he's afraid they're going to maul him again), like when he takes off his noisy shoes right in time to settle the vigilance of Napoleon. But the more blatant example is when he stops dead the fight in the same time that the cats as Roquefort demands silence. Maybe he was just startled by a loud squeaking sound, but still.
  • Any Last Words?: Said word-for-word by Scat Cat when he's about to eat Roquefort.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: While it was standard practice for a long time, giving cats milk (or giving it to mice, for that matter) is not so good for their digestion - though if we assume it was goat milk, then it's not quite as bad, and given how expensive it usually is, it would make a lot of sense for a high-class owner to have access to it. Of course, it's also not good to feed them half a dozen sleeping pills.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Lafayette doesn't resemble a Basset Hound circa 1910. The longer ears and slightly shorter legs didn't occur until later.
    • 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, especially the little ones. If nothing else, it will do a mouse in quickly. Heck, the amount of pills he put in would have been enough to kill a human. However, he might have been trying to kill them, and then just dump their bodies.
    • The cats are shown drinking milk by dragging their tongues forward, but the way cats (and dogs) actually drink is much cooler. The tongue dips straight down, and the tip curls backward/downward, and then it quickly retracts, flipping the liquid into the animal's mouth.
    • Horses' eyes are set into the sides of their heads, affording them nearly 360-degree fields of vision (though they can't see right in front, behind, or below), but Frou-Frou is drawn with her eyes in the front like a human's.
  • Artistic Licence – Economics: Edgar has dollar signs flashing in his eyes as greed takes over, and mentions dollars by name - however, in 1910, the currency of France was the Franc (up until 1997 when the Euro was adopted).
  • Artistic License – Geography: The chest at the end is addressed, "To Timbuktu, French Equatorial Africa". French Equatorial Africa encompassed the present-day countries of Chad, Central African Republic, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, and Cameroon. Timbuktu is located in Mali, which was part of French West Africa in 1910.
  • Artistic License – Law: Pets are considered property by the law - that includes early 20th-century French law - so the old Madame's will stating that her cats are the first beneficiary of her vast fortune and estate is unenforceable. But if it wasn't, then we wouldn't have a movie. It is possible, even likely, that her lawyer took Madame's instructions to mean "set up a trust fund to care for them, with Edgar as trustee." For the purposes of the plot, the effects are the same; Edgar couldn't blow all the money on himself.
  • Art Shift: It's subtle, but the cats are drawn slightly less anthropomorphic when the humans are talking.
  • Aside Comment: Before "Scales and Arpeggios", Berlioz becomes so tired of Marie tattling that he whispers "Tattletale" to the audience.
  • As You Know: As Madame is preparing for Georges' visit, she tells Duchess that he is their oldest and dearest friend. Soon afterwards, Georges reminds her how the night of her grand premiere of Carmen was the night they first met.
    • She says it word for word as she begins dictating her will. "Well, as you know, I have no living relatives..."
  • Audible Sharpness: Not as prominent, but the occasional use of claws produces a clicking sound, particularly when Scat Cat threatens Roquefort.
  • Babies Ever After: Discussed. Madame warns Georges that they should prepare for "future little ones" from Duchess and Thomas. Thomas is notably caught off-guard at the comment.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: When the cats return to Madame's house, Edgar captures them in a bag which he puts in the turned-off oven so he can take care of the problem later.
  • Becoming the Mask: O'Malley initially flirts with Duchess and is nice to the kittens because he's The Casanova. By the end, the feeling is genuine rather than just a front. It's best exemplified by the comment to Duchess about her eyes being like sapphires; the first time it's just a flirty statement, the second time he's head-over-heels asking if Duchess and the kittens wouldn't stay with him.
  • Big Bad: Edgar, the lead villain of the film. Even if he is a rather pathetic one.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Thomas O'Malley attacks Edgar when he attempts to mail out Duchess and her kittens, trying to stall him long enough. Scat Cat and his gang join in attacking Edgar en masse to prevent him from carrying out his plot.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Roquefort trying to get some quiet during the big fight so he can pick the combination padlock on the trunk. It actually works! Made all the more impressive by the fact that even Edgar, who shouldn't understand animal speech and doesn't want the trunk opened anyway, stops dead in his tracks.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The signs on the Métro while Edgar do display actual locations in Paris, although rendered in their native French. From the top down, the sign lists the Eiffel Tower, Place Charles de Gaulle (location of the Arc de Triomphe), and Monceau Park.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three kittens: Marie (white), Berlioz (dark) and Toulouse (orange).
  • Bowdlerise: "Everybody Wants To Be A Cat" often has Shun Gon's solo either muted or cut out on soundtrack releases. The scene was even cut out on the US LaserDisc release of Disney's Sing Along Songs: Circle of Life.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the opening and ending.
    • In the opening, the three kittens walk past the title, but it reads "The Aristocrats". Berlioz and Toulouse pull out the second "r" from the title and scrunch it together, so it now reads "The Aristocats".
    • With Napoleon and Lafayette in the final scene.
      Lafayette: Hey Napoleon! I think that's the end!
      Napoleon: Wait a minute! I'M the leader! I'll decide when it's the end! (the words "THE END" fly in and hit him in the head) Oof! It's the end.
  • 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, big time. He's the typical Harmless Villain who suffers comical abuse and Humiliation Conga in many scenes, especially in the climax. Napoleon and Lafayette's primary purpose in the film seems to be assaulting him.
    • Marie can qualify to an extent. Due to being the Damsel in Distress, she runs into trouble more than everyone in the family (like falling from a truck and later falling into a river) and sometimes gets teased by her brothers
    • O'Malley takes his turn when he encounters the Goose Sisters. They drive Mr. Carefree straight into Deadpan Snarker territory.
  • The Butler Did It: Edgar, being both a butler and the lead villain who tries to get rid of the cats, 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. She does intend for it to go to Edgar when the cats pass on, though.
  • 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. Scat Cat also bears no small resemblance to his voice Scatman Crothers.
  • The Casanova: Implied with O'Malley, who lathers Duchess in praise like a pro. He later seems surprised by how true his comments were.
  • Cassandra Truth: Toulouse tells his siblings and Duchess that Edgar dropped them off when they find themselves far from home (because he saw Edgar while he was half-asleep, although he thought it was a dream at first). The others don't believe him, but later they find out the hard way he was right.
  • Casting Gag: The Goose Sisters are voiced by Monica Evans and Carole Shelley, who originated the roles of the Pigeon Sisters in The Odd Couple.
  • 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.
    • Duchess and her kittens are Turkish Angoras. Persian cats are a spinoff of the breed and thus they share similar stereotypes. Duchess is a cat owned by a rich woman, but unlike the "bratty Persian" stereotype she's instead pampered but sweet. Her kittens are spoiled, but more because they're children rather than any breed stereotypes.
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted by the kindly Duchess and her kittens, who are friends with a mouse named Roquefort, and with O'Malley. 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 Are Snarkers: Mostly averted, even by O'Malley. The one exception is when he finally gets fed up with the Goose Sisters, after the "help" he received from them, and this earns him a rare Disapproving Look from Duchess (who's unaware of how they helped Thomas). Oddly enough, even though they are quite prim and proper British, it goes right over their heads:
    O'Malley: Hiya, chicks.
    Amelia *giggles profusely*: We're not chickens, we're geese!
    O'Malley: Noooooo. I thought you were swans.
    Abigail and Amelia: Ooooh, flatterer!
  • 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 thing.
    • Alluded to by O'Malley:
      Duchess: Why, Mr. O'Malley, you could have lost your life!
      O'Malley So I got a few to spare.
    • Alluded to yet again towards the end by Roquefort, who complains while on a dangerous errand that while O'Malley has nine lives, he only has one.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The three kittens each match the adult cats they take after.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Not only did the movie get one, but there were two Spin-Off series, The Aristokittens starring Marie, Toulouse, and Berlioz and O'Malley and the Alley Cats, which focused on the titular characters. For The Aristokittens, the kittens encounter Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio and Tinker Bell from Peter Pan. Another issue had them meeting Dumbo, alongside Chip 'n Dale, and Skamp.
  • Cool Cat: A major theme of the movie. From upbeat wanderer Thomas O'Malley, to collectedly refined Duchess, to swingin' hip cat Scat Cat, the moral of the story is "nothing keeps a good cat down."
  • Cute Kitten: Duchess's three adorable offsprings, with Marie as the straightest example of this.
  • Dance Party Ending: The final scene is all the cats and other animals at a new home for stray cats (with Duchess, her family, Roquefort and even Frou-Frou visiting), all singing and dancing to a reprise of "Everybody Wants to be a Cat".
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Berlioz and Scat Cat have black fur, but are decidedly good guys.
  • Description Cut: Duchess tells Berlioz not to make fun of Edgar because he's a good caretaker. Fade to Edgar preparing to drug their milk with sleeping pills.
  • 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, which is how it usually is with cats. note  As Duchess is a pedigreed queen, it's likely that Madame had her bred to an equally well-bred tom belonging to some other high-society Kindhearted Cat Lover.
  • Disney Acid Sequence:
    • The whole ending which reruns the song is a crescendo of breaking the willing suspension of disbelief: firstly, the fact that Mme Bonfamille opens a foundation for street cat jazz bands, without seeing anything weird in animals playing music, is hard to swallow. Then, the background begins to fade while the cats are jazzing. Characters who are not supposed to be here, the geese then the dogs (who did not ever interact with the cat protagonists) join the song. Eventually, the words "the end" finish to break the fourth wall by bumping into the head of Napoleon.
  • 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 (1967) was the last film he produced).
  • Distressed Dude: O'Malley bravely dives into the water to save Marie, and succeed but then he himself can't swim back to shore and has to be rescued by two very British geese. Or, alternatively, from said geese.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Froufrou, who has been Edgar's unwilling confidante due to Froufrou being unable to talk and warn Madame that he has stolen the cats, gives him a stern kick in the climax that lands him in the trunk to Timbuktu. Edgar had also given her a hard smack on the rear.
  • Dramatic Irony: What sets off the plot is Edgar overhearing Madame Bonfamille confide in George that she was willing her fortune to the cats first and her butler second. That's one thing. But another thing is how Edgar grossly miscalculates that Duchess and her kittens will outlive him, therefore leading to him plotting to get rid of them. If only he had a better understanding that cats (and even their kittens) only live a fraction of the human lifespan, he might not have been so quick to think up the scheme, and perhaps it might've been a matter of patience on his part.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Madame discovering that her cats are missing is accompanied by a fittingly placed thunderclap with lightning to go with it.
  • The Drifter: O'Malley.
  • Driving Up a Wall: Farm dogs Napoleon and Lafeyette scare Edgar so badly while he's dumping the cats that he leads them on a motorcycle chase up the underside of a bridge, twice.
  • Dub Name Change: In Italian, Thomas is named "Romeo", befitting his amorous nature, and given a strong Roman accent.note  The kittens are named Minou (French for "kitten"), Bizet and Matisse (a composer and a painter better known in Italy than Berlioz and Toulouse).
  • The End: Literally accosts Napoleon, who insists he'll say when it's the end. It has other ideas.
    Lafeyette: Hey, Napoleon, that sounds like The End!
    Napoleon: Wait a minute; I'm the leader! I'll say when it's The End!
    (the words "THE END" bump into Napoleon's head)
    Napoleon: (Oof!) It's The End.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: In his overconfidence, Edgar reveals to Frou Frou the horse that he's the catnapper because he made the headlines in the newspaper and is gloating how the police won't find a single clue to implicate him—only to realize that he left his hat, umbrella, motorcycle side car, and the cats' basket back at the countryside, and rushes out to retrieve them before the police can.
    Edgar: Oh, they won't find a clue to implicate me. Not one single clue. Why, I'll eat my hat if they—... MY HAT! MY UMBRELLA! Oh, gracious! I've got to get those things back tonight!
  • The Edwardian Era: The movie is set in this period.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Scat Cat and his gang torment Roquefort as a mouse who willingly comes to them for help, until they learn that O'Malley sent him because Duchess and her kittens are in trouble. Then they apologize to Roquefort and immediately charge to the rescue.
  • Fat and Skinny: The two farm dogs. Lafayette is the fat one and Napoleon is the skinny one.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Shortly after the cats dive beneath the railroad's tracks to avoid the oncoming train, one can notice that Marie is conspicuously absent from the others. Shortly thereafter, it's revealed that she fell into the river below.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Toulouse says "someday we might meet a tough alley cat" after Duchess discourages them from biting and clawing. The very next day, they meet O'Malley, Scat Cat, and the others - although all of them are nothing but friendly and helpful.
    • O'Malley's description of his friends, Scat Cat's gang.
    "They're a little rough around the edges, but if you're ever in a jam, wham! They're right there."
    • To a lesser extent, Roquefort the mouse referring to O'Malley as "what's-his-name" as he's searching for Scat Cat's gang to tell them that Duchess and the kittens are in trouble. Scat Cat doesn't believe him at first because Roquefort can't remember O'Malley's name.
  • French Accordion: The film is set in Paris and features accordion music when the cats are walking on the roof at night.
  • 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 Bonfamille faithfully and loyally all his life, and yet she put her cats first in her will.
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: One scene features Marie and Berlioz play-fighting. During which, Berlioz pins Marie down and tickles her belly.
  • Furry Reminder: The cats' meows are separate from their speech, as evidenced when Marie tells her brothers to start meowing. Interestingly, this is somewhat verified in real-life; meows are mostly used by cats to get the attention of humans, while using a variety of different sounds like chirps and squeaks to communicate with other cats.
  • Genre Blindness: Edgar expresses some doubt about telling his plans to the horse but gets over it... after all, animals can't understand human talk, right? Certainly not in a Disney movie, right???
  • Go Through Me: In the climax, O'Malley futilely tries to hold back the trunk trapping Duchess and the kittens against Edgar since he's too small. However, Frou-Frou steps in and blocks the trunk from going any further, stopping Edgar.
  • Happily Married: Duchess and O'Malley in the end. Madame Bonfamille even hints that they should prepare for "their future little ones".
  • Harp of Femininity: Duchess starting to play the harp during "Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat" immediately tones the song down to something more romantic and refined, and O'Malley sings a short duet with her where he's clearly taken by her beauty and grace.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Duchess sings "If you want to turn me on/Play your horn/Don't spare the tone/And blow a little soul into the tune" in the "Everybody Wants To Be A Cat" sequence. Despite her tone and the tomcats gawking over her, the lyrics aren't meant to seem sexual.
  • Heel Realization: After making a lame excuse to avoid dealing with Duchess' kittens, O'Malley realizes, "You're not a cat, O'Malley, you're a rat!" and offers to help Duchess and her kittens.
  • Hero Worship: Toulouse views O'Malley as a genuine street cat he wants to be like. Also helps they're both similarly colored.
  • Hobbling the Giant: The mouse Roquefort delays the human Edgar by tying his shoelaces together to make him fall.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Edgar prepared everything to ship out Duchess and her kittens to Timbuktu. Due to Thomas and the other strays' interference, Edgar winds up locked in the chest and shipped off instead.
  • Horrible Judge of Character:
    Toulouse: (when all of them are stuck in an oven) I told you it was Edgar!
    Berlioz: Aw, shut up, Toulouse!
  • 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).
  • Hurricane of Puns: Abigail and Amelia are almost constantly giggling over their own little jokes and puns. At one point, they make a parade with the cats on the way to Paris and insist that O'Malley be the "rear end".
  • Husky Russkie: Billy Boss, the Russian cat from Scat Cat's gang, is a big burly fellow.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • "That old birdcage? Poppycock! Elevators are for old people!" said by the lawyer, who has to be well into his 80's.
    • Uncle Waldo loudly tells Abigail and Amelia to stop hushing him or they'll wake the neighbourhood. Justified since he's drunk at the moment and not exactly at full faculties.
  • I Gave My Word: O'Malley promises to help Duchess out when they meet, mainly so he can romance her. He backs out of it when he realizes that she has kittens with her, but then he realizes he is being a rat to her and makes good on his promise to help Duchess and her kittens.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: George tries to do this to Madame, but misses and gets Duchess's tail instead. He doesn't notice the difference, and neither seem to recognize this as Duchess' rare moment of anthropomorphism while they're talking (she puts her paw to her mouth like she's suppressing laughter at the mistake).
  • Illegal Guardian: Edgar, who is to become the cats' guardian after their owner dies, and promptly tries to get rid of them so their inheritance goes straight to him.
  • Instant Sedation: Averted. It takes a couple of minutes for the cats to feel any effect from their spiked milk.
  • Intellectual Animal: All the animal cast. Edgar should have known better than to brag about his crime to Frou-Frou just because she's a horse, causing her and Roquefort to plot against him to thwart his scheme.
  • Ironic Echo: When the cats all walk across a railroad trestle, the kittens play "train" while walking directly on one of the rails, with Toulouse up front making train noises. But then his "Whoo-whoo!" is immediately followed by a real train whistle blaring up ahead, and Toulouse appropriately makes an Oh, Crap! face among seeing the approaching train.
  • Irony: Edgar's attempts to ship out Duchess and her kittens to Timbuktu ended up with him getting trapped in the trunk and shipped out himself instead.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Marie provides comedic and dramatic examples of this trope by crying out "Mama!" The funny instances are when she roughhouses with her brothers or tattles on them. She also shouts "Mama!" twice when she's in peril: after falling off the truck and when she needs to be saved from the river.
  • I Warned You: Toulouse is the one who notes that Edgar was the one who dumped them onto the side of the rode, but no one believes him. Near the end of the movie, when Edgar puts them into an oven...
    Toulose: I told you it was Edgar!
    Berlios: Ah, shut up, Toulouse!
  • 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 until some cats die before inheriting a fortune?!? But maybe he should have waited a little more to see if Mme Bonfamille was going to live long enough to let cats overflowing the house before he acted out.
    • The milkman, as hot-tempered as he is, has a reason to be vexed - he's just going about his business trying to deliver some milk and a bunch of plucky cats keep interfering with him and drinking the very product that he has to sell.
  • The Kids Are American: Well, Toulouse and Berlioz are. Marie has a British accent. And their mother is Hungarian. Who cares?
  • Kidnapped While Sleeping: The butler Edgar spikes the cats' milk with sleeping pills. Once the cats are all asleep, he kidnaps them and abandons them in the French countryside.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Madam Adelaide Bonfamille. She is fine being single, but as Duchess says at one point, without her cats to love she really does feel alone. Madam is a very good example of this. O'Malley doesn't like the idea of living with a human, but Duchess explains to him that Madam is not like any other human - she really loves the cats like they are her own kin.
  • Large Ham:
  • Leitmotif:
    • Abigail and Amelia have a very jaunty one that seems to perfectly match their waddling motions.
    • Napoleon and Lafayette's is a subtle and slightly ominous brass number with some smooth jazz undertones.
  • Lightning Reveal: As Madame lifts the curtain on the cats' bed, revealing that they're missing, to her horror.
  • Literal-Minded: The whole plot stems from Edgar taking the "cats live nine lives" expression literally. And he calls himself a "sly old fox."
    • Amelia and Abigail's response to O'Malley greeting them as chicks is to correct him that they're geese, not chickens.
  • The Load: The kittens can be seen this way - none of them really do anything useful for the story, aside from Marie occasionally providing a chance for the initially reluctant O'Malley to play the Papa Wolf.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: Edgar, during the fight with the dogs.
  • Lost in Translation: The titular "Aristocats" pun works in many European languages, but unfortunately there are also many European and non-European languages that it does not work in. In Russia, the film's title is boringly translated as Aristocratic Cats. Other countries avoid the issue by taking the Completely Different Title route. In Japan, for instance, the film is known as Stylish Cats.
  • Married Animals: The two geese sisters get upset when they learn Duchess and Thomas are friends but aren't married to one another.
  • Meaningful Name: Translated from French, Madame Adelaide Bonfamille's last name means "good family". Her first name comes from a Germanic word meaning "of a noble kind".
  • Mid-Battle Tea Break: At Roquefort's shouted "QUIET!", Edgar and the cats attacking him all pause until Roquefort can get the combination lock open. They start up again afterward.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Subverted. Edgar isn't willing to kill Duchess and her kittens, but just to send 'em away from him. Of course, his method of getting rid of the cats could just as easily have gotten them all killed anyway.... Note that the second time he tries to get rid of them by shipping them to Timbuktu, he just threw them in a totally not arranged box without even air holes. No doubt the cats would have been dead at the arrival, anyway.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Near the end when Roquefort is trying to crack the lock on the trunk holding the cats. Even the extra diegetic background music stops dead.
  • 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?
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Oh Edgar, you should've known better than to brag your crimes to a supposed animal in a Disney film. You'd never know who is sentient enough and sympathetic to the heroes that they'll act accordingly. He had no idea said animals would eventually plot against him.
  • Nice Mice: Roquefort, a mouse and heroic friend of Duchess and her kittens.
  • No Fourth Wall: The last scene, when Napoleon the dog declares that it's the end after the words "The End" bump into his head.
  • No More for Me: At one point, a man sees Scat Cat and his gang of cats run past, with a mouse apparently in hot pursuit (Roquefort is just trying to catch up so he can tell the cats where to go) and promptly pours away his bottle of wine.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Despite the film's setting being in and around Paris, Napoleon and Lafayette - the two rural dogs - speak with a distinctly Southern American accent. It wouldn't be the last time their voice actors did this, either.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Edgar may be one of the most bumbling Disney villains but he can still prove to be a threat towards the cats, especially towards the end where he not only tries to mail Duchess and the kittens away but also tries to harm O'Malley and the alley-cats when they come to the rescue.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • During the first motorbike chase- first Edgar, when he sees Napoleon and Lafayette chasing him; then Napoleon and Lafayette themselves when they realise they’re headed for a tree.
    • Madame when she finds her cats missing from their bed.
    • Duchess when she wakes up in a strange place, with her kittens scattered.
    • O'Malley has a minor one when, while flirting with Duchess, he finds that she has three kittens. He gets over it quickly and serves as a Parental Substitute.
    • When the kittens are playing train on the tracks and making whistle noises, only to hear a real train bearing down on them fast.
    • Edgar when he remembers that he left half his possessions in the countryside and that they could be used to incriminate him.
    • Also Edgar, combined with a Spit Take, when he hears the cats meowing to be let into the house.
    • Roquefort when Scat Cat and his gang are about to eat him.
  • On One Condition: Edgar will inherit everything by proxy as long as he cares for four lovely, well-behaved cats. He's immediately insulted.
  • Overly Long Name:
    • Thomas O'Malley's full name is Abraham De Lacey Giuseppe Casey Thomas O'Malley. He introduces himself with an "I Am" Song based on the name. Lampshaded by Duchess:
    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 is quick to jump into this role whenever one of Duchess's kittens (usually Marie) is in danger.
  • Parental Bonus:
    • 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.note 
    • At one point, desperately trying to the Goose Sisters keep from drowning, O'Malley tries to grab them by their tail feathers. They dissolve in giggles and chide that this is "No time for fun and games!"
    • The Goose Sisters' opinion of O'Malley immediately changes when they find out that he and Duchess aren't married, and are clearly under the impression that he has impure intentions toward her. Which, to be fair, he sorta did before realizing she had kids in tow. At this moment, they heap on him reproaches with sophisticated sentences connoted to fornication, impossible to grasp for children. Poor innocent Marie finds it genuinely romantic.
    • The whole scene with Uncle Waldo is basically just "drunk people are funny", said in a way that a kid might not totally get the innuendo.
    Uncle Waldo: ...stuffed with chestnuts, and basted in... white wine.
    O'Malley: Basted? He's been marinated in it!
  • Parent with New Paramour: Duchess with O'Malley. The kittens are all for it because he's been their cool savior.
  • Pet Heir: The title felines are to be the main beneficiaries of their owner's will in order to keep them looked after. Edgar, the butler, eavesdrops on the conversation and then decides to try to off the cats in question as he was to receive the rest when the cats died. Incidentally, it did "address" the issue of him just waiting for the cats to die: he assumes that each cat really has nine lives. And that the four cats will live consecutively. (He's not very bright; although even he realizes something's off with the maths as he adds "no, it's less than that") And yet, she implies at the end that she meant to leave the butler a sizable sum himself.
  • A Pet into the Wild: Duchess and her children get thrown out of their house and left to die in the streets. The plot revolves around them trying to get back home.
  • Predation Is Natural: Scat Cat and his Alley Cats were going to eat Roquefort the mouse, but they are all portrayed as friendly, heroic and whimsical - cats eating mice is just the way things are.
  • Production Foreshadowing: A good chunk of the voice cast would return for the other two main Disney movies of the 1970s. Monica Evans and Carole Shelley, as well as George Lindsay and Pat Butram, even play foils to each other in this film, as they would in Robin Hood.
  • Pun-Based Title: Let me's about cats from the upper class?
  • Punny Name: Roquefort's name is a play on Roquefort Cheese, and the fact that he's a mouse, who likes to eat cheese.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: Duchess, O'Malley and the kittens have to cross a railroad bridge. Toulouse decides the kittens could play "train" as they walk on the rail, and they do, but as Toulouse is making train noises, a real train whistle suddenly interrupts him, and the cats leap off the track onto one of the truss trestles, letting the train pass over them.
  • Recycled Animation: It's pretty clear Disney was already experiencing the financial woes that forced them to make their next film, Robin Hood (1973), so economically. The difference here is that the recycled animation is also from this film.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: A couple of times, the milkman's irises are colored red, mainly when he's angry. This is particularly interesting since he isn't really a villain.
  • Remarrying for Your Kids: Invoked with Duchess and O'Malley. O'Malley says that the kittens need a father around, but it's more of an indirect way of telling Duchess he wants to be with her than him genuinely believing they do. Duchess agrees, but at this point, her attraction to O'Malley has been very well established. So it's more of a "remarrying for ourselves, but won't it be great for the kids?" type of thing.
  • Rescue Romance: O'Malley helps Duchess and her kittens find their way home, and they fall in love.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Subverted. Frou-Frou considers exacting revenge on Edgar when he spills the beans on leaving the cats in the countryside. She waits until the time is right to do so, teaming up with Thomas O'Malley, Roquefort, Scat Cat and his gang to give Edgar his just desserts.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: By the end of "Everybody Wants to be a Cat", Scat Cat's whole gang have had their instruments banged up after several floors collapse under them. They keep playing anyways.
  • Rod-and-Reel Repurposed : Edgar uses a fishing rod to retrieve incriminating evidence (the hat and umbrella he left behind while kidnapping the kittens) from the two farm dogs who chased after him.
  • Rule of Three: The myth that Cats Have Nine Lives is mentioned three times throughout the movie.
    • Edgar assumes the cats will outlive him because in his mind, not only do they have nine lives, but each cat will live them all out consecutively, one after the other, for a total of 432 years.
    • When Duchess exclaims that O'Malley could have lost his life, he says "so I got a few to spare".
    • When O'Malley sends Roquefort to get help from Scat Cat and his gang (a dangerous task considering that Roquefort is a mouse), he complains that while O'Malley has nine lives, he only has one.
    • Also, the Running Gag of Napoleon saying "I'M the leader, I'LL decide...(Gilligan Cut)" occurs three times: when he and Lafayette are about to chase Edgar, when he determines that a mysterious squeaking noise was "just a little ol' cricket bug", and once at the end to say That's All, Folks!.
  • Running Gag: Throughout Edgar's motorcycle ride, his bowler hat jumps off his head whenever the engine backfires.
  • Spin-Off: Due to the popularity of Marie in Japan, a spin-off manga was created called 'Miriya & Marie' which was first available in Japan and Brazil until 2018, when the manga gained an English translation.
  • 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 due to the number of times Duchess yells it when she gets into trouble.
  • Scatting: When the songs are being sung by the likes of jazz legends Phil Harris and Scatman Crothers, its to be expected.
  • Shaking the Rump: During "Ev'rybody Wants To Be A Cat", Duchess for a few seconds wiggles her butt at the camera in quite a sassy manner. In the reprise at the end of the film, Frou-Frou does as well.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Amelia and Abigail initially think O'Malley is Duchess's husband, which he reluctantly admits he's not. Once the geese hear that truth, they immediately begin gossiping to each other how O'Malley wouldn't be a great fit for Duchess anyway. In the end though, O'Malley does get together with Duchess.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work:
    • As Charles de Gaulle had yet to make a name for himself at the time of the film's setting (as well as becoming President), the Place de l'Étoile retains its original name.
    • Georges Hautecourt's car is contemporary for the Edwardian Era, as is the milk truck. Both look quite beaten and aged for modern vehicles at the time, though.
  • Silly Walk: The Gabble Sisters have a very distinctive waddle, which is imitated by the cats when told to "think goose". It even gets its own distinctive Leitmotif played on bassoon and ocarina.
  • Silver Fox: Madame Bonfamille aged rather well. Georges certainly finds her attractive.
  • Single Parents Are Undesirable: Subverted; O'Malley is in the middle of flirting with Duchess when her kittens step out of the brush. Initially, he decides to separate from them, but it only takes a few minutes of thought for him to realize he's being a "rat" and come back. From that point on, he takes up the roles of Duchess' boyfriend and the kittens' surrogate father with equal willingness.
  • Slasher Smile: Frou-Frou before kicking Edgar into a trunk bound for Timbuktu.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Edgar drugs the cats' food, calling it "creme de la creme a la Edgar".
  • 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 after he thinks he's gotten rid of the cats.
  • Standard Snippet: Madame and George dance to an instrumental version of "Habanera" from Carmen. They talk nostalgically about how Madame played Carmen during her opera singing days.
  • Stealth Pun: The Cat performance literally brings down the house.
    • Also, when O'Malley grabbed the Gabble sisters' tails while trying not to drown, he literally goosed them.
  • Super-Senses:
    • Napoleon - with sound rather than smell, surprisingly.
    Napoleon: Hush your mouth. 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: They're bla— now how would I know that?!
    • And...
    Napoleon: Sounds like a one-wheeled... oh...
    Lafeyette: A one-wheeled what?
    Napoleon: You're not gonna believe this, but it's a one-wheeled haystack!
  • Suspender Snag:
    • When Georges Hautecourt arrives to discuss matters with Madame Bonfamille, he insists on walking up the stairs. Edgar tries to help him navigate the steps, but Hautecourt plays a prank on him by pretending to fumble down the stairs, only to use his cane to snag Edgar's suspenders. He then uses the suspenders to launch himself onto the butler's back, thus making Edgar carrying Hautecourt on piggyback the rest of the way up.
    Hautecourt: Don't panic, Edgar! Upward and onward, WHEEE!
    • Later on in the film, when Napoleon and Lafayette chase after Edgar in his motorcycle, Lafayette catches Edgar's suspenders when he passes him and uses them to catch up with him.
  • Sustained Misunderstanding:
    Napoleon: Lafayette! Lafayette, listen.
    Lafayette: Oh, shucks, Napoleon. That ain't nothin' more but a little ol' cricket bug.
    Napoleon: It's squeaky shoes approachin'.
    Lafayette: Aw, cricket bugs don't wear shoes.
  • Talking Animal: To be specific, translated animal according the scene.
  • Television Geography: When Edgar drives accidentally inside the Metro, one can read the station's name "Tour Eiffel, Parc Monceau, Place de l'Etoile", like if it was the same area. Although these three places are all in the West part of the city, they are still distant by 1 or 2 kms from each other, which yet feasible, remains a fair distance to walk (at least, by parisian dense transportation system standard). In reality, each one already had its own station in 1910.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Duchess assures her kittens that Edgar is a good man who looks out for their well-being. Scene change to Edgar spiking their milk with an overdose of sleeping pills.
    • "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.
    • "You're going to Timbuktu if it's the last thing I do!" Guess who ends up going there instead!
  • That's All, Folks!: After the reprise of "Everybody Wants To Be A Cat", the dog LaFayette comments that it sounds like the end. Cue Napoleon's usual catchphrase of "I'm the leader, I'll decide _____" (with the blank being "when it's the end" in this case). Then the words "The End" bump him, and he declares "It's the end."
  • That Was Not a Dream:
    • Toulouse half wakes up while being kidnapped, but drops off again just as quickly. 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...
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Roquefort after O'Malley tells him to get help from a gang of alley cats, a dangerous task considering that he's a mouse.
  • Tied-Together-Shoelace Trip: When Roquefort sees the cats returning, he ties Edgar's shoelaces together to delay him so he can warn the cats that the butler is up to no good.
  • Tongue-Out Insult: When the three kittens squabble, Berlioz sticks his tongue out at Marie at one point.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: Edgar winds up trying to escape from Napoleon and Lafeyette on a "one-wheel haystack."
  • Unwanted Assistance: O'Malley's reaction to Abigail and Amelia, who are under the mistaken impression that he's trying to teach himself to swim and unwilling to hear it when he says he's really just trying to get to shore after saving Marie. It's played for laughs, but they actually come fairly close to killing him. Later on, it becomes an Embarrassing Rescue by the geese.
  • Visual Pun: During the line, "'Cause everybody digs a swingin' cat", Toulouse swings from the switch of a hanging lamp.
  • Watch Where You're Going!: Berlioz and Tolouse get into a piano duel at the end of Scales and Arpeggios, which ends when they collide in midair and fall onto the keys.
  • What's an X Like You Doing in a Y Like This?: Scat Cat says a non-romantic example when he meets Roquefort.
    Scat Cat: What's a little swinger like you doin' in our side of town?
  • 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, "Cats need lots of music" in the German version, and "Everybody wants to be the Jazz cat".
  • 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 Madame Bonfamille his whole life before his greed and a poor grasp of the lifespan of a housecat and mathematics drove him to take drastic measures.
  • Wingding Eyes: Edgar gets flashing dollar signs in his eyes as he fantasises about inheriting Madame's fortune.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Edgar "turned evil" after he learns all the inheritance will pass to the cats. Edgar thinks he's a woobie and that the will is his misfortune, but if he'd listened to the whole will he would have learned that the inheritance will indeed pass on to the cats with him as their caretaker. In Real Life, cases of such arrangements usually involve Trust Funds, meaning Edgar would be on an allowance.

Lafayette: Hey, Napoleon! It looks like we've reached the end of this trope page!
Napoleon: Wait a minute. I'm the leader. I'll say when we've reached the end of this trope page. (looks at the trope page only to see there's no more information there) We've reached the end of this trope page.


It's The End

When Napoleon insists only he gets to declare when it's the end, the words literally hit him on the head. Making him declare the end of the film.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

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Main / ThatsAllFolks

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