DVD Review: THE ARISTOCATS: Special Edition @ 2 February 2008 06:51 PM
One way to think about the The Aristocats as the second film in the Disney "Phil Harris trilogy" (sandwiched between The Jungle Book and Robin Hood), but of course it's more than that.
By the way, a little bit of unknown trivia
Here's one bit of trivia you may not have heard before: according to a gentleman I spoke with years ago named Albert Johnston, who worked in Disney's New York office in the 60's, helping choose books for the studio to acquire for film and TV adaptations, the legendary choreographer George Balanchine had written a similar book about cats and, even though it little similarity to The Aristocats, they paid a licensing fee to Balanchine to prevent a possible suit.
The Aristocats film, of course, premiered in 1970 and was somewhat of an event in its day because Disney was still only releasing new animated features every three to four years. By this time, on top of the Phil Harris connection, there was also a Green Acres / Andy Griffith Show connection with voices such as Pat Buttram and George Lindsey popping up even when the settings were in France or England.
Of all the characters, my mom loved the two British geese best when we first saw the movie. Played by Monica Evans and Carole Shelley, they were clearly inspired by their portrayals of the Pigeon Sisters in the film and TV versions of The Odd Couple.
The film looks and sounds great in this DVD issue, and even though it would have been nice to have two discs -- and my favorite feature, the audio commentary -- this disc does feature one of the most wonderful things ever to appear on a special feature, at least from the standpoint of a Disney records fan -- the first time Robie Lester is ever officially acknowledged as the singing voice of Duchess (see my blog for more).
And here's something really ironic: one of the bonus features is an edited Disney TV show called "The Great Cat Family," in which the cat is lauded for preventing the potential worldwide disaster of the plague spread by rats -- which contradicts the earnest denial of such a fact in the recent short cartoon, "Our Friend the Rat" on the Ratatouille DVD package. You be the judge!
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