The Aristocats (1970)

As a dog person it can only ever be second to 101 Dalmatians, but it is almost as beautiful, with more comedy but also songs… Modern Disney Pixar films have their own incredible beauty, but you really can get lost in each frame of this film, especially when you think about how each was hand-drawn. I still want Edgar to be the good guy that he is at the start. They hit a winner with Jasper and Horace in 101 Dalmatians, imagine Nanny trading in the feather duster for a fur coat I think my heart would break.

Favourite character: Roquefort. As if his name was not enough reason alone, who could resist a heroic worrisome mouse wearing a tartan deerstalker and a red raincoat and voiced by Winnie the Pooh (Sterling Holloway)?

As a child I was 300% sure that Crème de la Crème à la Edgar tasted like melted vanilla ice-cream, and that Timbuktu was in Cornwall (I had heard this was very far away). I was also very distressed to learn that windmills were so improperly secured to the ground that they could be moved simply by driving a motorcycle inside of them…

Pros: ANIMALS AS MAIN CHARACTERS (and in cute bows and ties). Mouse-sized raincoats (already mentioned). Drunk British geese. THE GOOSE WALKING SONG. A++ inspiration for future pet’s names. Side-game of spot the Disney voice-actors (Fox & the Hound, Winnie the Pooh, Jungle Book etc). I like a cheecha-cheecha-roni like they make at home, or a healthy fish with a big back bone I’m-

Cons: Duchess is a bit urgh. (e.g. Toulouse: I’m scared, mother. What’s going to happen to us? Duchess: Well I really don’t know. It does seem hopeless, doesn’t it? Great job of cheering everyone up there, Duchess.) She’s also a TERRIBLE flirt I mean go for it girl, but maybe not while your kids are watching?

Unlike 101 Dalmatians there are no real emotional pressure points (when the newborn puppy seems dead but isn’t, when the puppies and parents are reunited, when they all meet back at the humans house at the end and they decide to keep them, when they get a drink of milk??? Okay maybe I just have a lot of emotions about dogs.) Perhaps because this is a romance story? Perhaps crying over fictional cartoon animals went (briefly) out of fashion?

Modern remake would see Duchess power-mumming her way back to the Paris mansion on nothing but sheer grit determination and an ability to read bus timetables, while getting held up along the way trying to save Thomas O’Malley from his own stupidity, a quality which is obviously so pronounced that it accidentally renders him irresistibly endearing and loveable. (I am available to write scripts.)

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