|Original title: The Aristocats|
Characters: Romeo, Duchess, Bizet, Minou, Matisse, Edgar, Adelaide Bonfamille, Scat Cat, Gruyere the mouse
Walt Disney Studios
Regia: Wolfgang Reithermann
Gender: Adventure / Comedy animated film
Duration: 78 minutes
Recommended age: Children from 6 to 12 years old
The animated film The Aristocats (original title The Aristocats) was released in theaters in 1970 and is the first film shot in the absence of Walt Disney. Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman and inspired by the story of Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe.
The story of the Aristocats is set in Paris in 1910 and has as protagonists the cat Duchess and the kittens Minù, Bizet and Matisse who live pampered and spoiled by the elderly lady Madame. The lady and her cats love to go around the streets of Paris, in the gig driven by the butler Edgard and pulled by the mare Frou Frou. Duchessa is a very elegant and refined cat, who cares a lot about the education of her kittens and is always ready to remind them of good manners. Madame is waiting for the lawyer George Hautecourt, a wacky and sprightly over ninety, who when he arrives sends poor Edgard into trouble, trying to accompany him to the lady. George Hautecourt is a close friend of Madame Adelaide Bonfamille, from the days when Madame was successful as a singer of Carmen at the Opéra National de Paris. Madame called him because she wants to make a will and having no living relatives, she decides to give all her belongings to her cats.
Later after their deaths, the assets will pass to the butler Edgard. Through a pipe connected to his room, he listens to the speech and with enormous despair learns the news, considering it unfair that the lady has privileged the Duchess and her kittens. Not wanting to wait fifteen years to benefit from those riches, he decides to get rid of the felines and puts some sleeping pills in their bowls. Meanwhile, in the living room, Duchess tries to keep the exuberance of the kittens at bay, as they play fighting each other. The caring mother cat reminds them that they are Aristocats and must not behave in an unseemly way, giving each other bites and claws, but be lovable, attractive and have aristocratic ways. So Duchessa makes sure that her kittens apply themselves in the study of the arts: Matisse, the red-haired kitten, devotes himself to painting, the white kitten Minù to singing and the gray kitten Bizet to the piano. Matisse performs, painting with his paws, an expressionist portrait vaguely resembling Edgard, while Minù practices singing the musical scales and Bizet trains himself on the arpeggios of the piano. Although they are both passionate about music, between Minù and Bizet there is no good blood and every occasion is good for arguing and teasing. Edgard arrives serving the Aristocats inviting bowls of "Edgard cream of cream", which the kittens don't waste time enjoying. The humble little mouse Gruyere (masterfully voiced by Oreste Lionello), attracted by that beautiful creamy scent, asks Duchess if she can take advantage of dipping her biscuit in one of the bowls, so the cats invite him to their banquet, all unaware of the fact that milk contains a powerful sleeping pill.
Poor Gruviera falls into a deep sleep before he has even returned to his lair and the Aristocats with him. In the middle of the night the clumsy butler locks the cats inside a wicker cradle and on board a crackling sidecar, leaves for the open countryside with the aim of eliminating them. The din wakes up the two guard dogs Napoleon and Lafayette, experts in chasing and biting the cars and motorbikes of passers-by and so do with the unfortunate Edgard, who panicked and lets slip the cradle of cats, which falls into near a bridge. After a spectacular and amusing commotion, the butler manages to escape the ferocious dogs, not without having suffered their bites. Meanwhile, Duchess wakes up and realizes that she is no longer in her house, so in desperation she goes in search of her kittens, who fortunately have remained nearby, but a violent storm forces them to take shelter inside the small cradle. The noise of the storm also wakes the elderly Madame, who notices the disappearance of her beloved kittens. In terror, the mouse Gruviera is agitated and, wearing his red cape (in perfect detective style), he sets out in search of his friends Aristocats.
The following morning Duchess is awakened by the song sung by an Italian cat with a Roman accent (in the original American it was an Irish cat), it is Romeo, er mejo der Colosseo. The red-haired stray cat is enchanted by the sweet eyes of the Duchess and wastes no time in courting her. He does not realize, however, that the pretty kitten has offspring in her wake and so sees a possible love story fade away. But Romeo is also a gallant cat, who gladly accepts to accompany and defend the Aristocats on their return home. During their journey the cats have to overcome many vicissitudes and adventures, where they will get to know the geese Adelina and Guendalina Blabla.
Once in Paris Romeo hosts the Duchess and the kittens, inside an old and shabby house, where Scat-Cat and his band of cats love to play jazz music. To the sound of the song "Everyone wants to jazz" the Aristocats are involved in an exciting dance, which also gives rise to a tender feeling between Duchess and Romeo.
After greeting Romeo and returning to their luxurious home, the Aristocats are again captured by the cruel butler, who closes them inside a sack and throws them into the kitchen oven. Fortunately, the mouse Gruviera witnesses the capture and rushes to warn Romeo. He tries to stop Edgard and sends Gruviera to ask Scat-Cat and his gang for help. Will Romeo and his friends manage to free Duchess and her kittens?
The Aristocats is one of the funniest and most engaging films of Walt Disney Productions, thanks above all to the accurate characterization of the characters and the captivating jazz music of the Sherman brothers.
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