The Aristocats ★★★★
I’ve had a soft spot for Walt Disney’s 20th animated feature ever since seeing it as a six-year-old. I now appreciate it academically as the final project approved by Disney himself, and as a prime example of the 1960s/70s purple patch that also gave us The Jungle Book and One Hundred and One Dalmatians, with which The Aristocats shares those beautiful, sketchy outlines. Paris in 1910 gives a stylised backdrop to the dastardly, melodramatic deeds of slapstick butler Edgar, who attempts to bump off the female cat and three kittens who stand to inherit the wealth of their elderly opera singer owner. Abandoned in the countryside, they rely upon alley cat Thomas O’Malley (voiced by Baloo the Bear himself, Phil Harris) to guide them home on a memorable picaresque that also takes in the jazz scene, by way of Scat Cat (Scatman Crothers) and his band. A good story, excellent set pieces (the motorcycle chase; the trunk to Timbuktu) and Everybody Wants to Be a Cat. Unbeatable.
For more of today’s free-to-air films, see our TV listings
Order your copy of the Radio Times Guide to Films 2017