Edgar (voice of Roddy Maude-Roxby) may have only been suspicious before, but after overhearing a conversation between his employer Madame (voice of Hermione Baddeley) and her lawyer George (voice of Charles Lane), he knows for sure: His boss really is a crazy old cat lady. Her elegant dress, demure demeanor and obvious wealth might fool some, but the once faithful butler can see that only someone with an unsound mind would make a will leaving a sizable fortune to a family of felines. And even though he is next in line to inherit, the now sour serviceman isn’t interested in waiting his turn. Feeling completely justified, he decides instead to dispose of the competition right away.
Unaware of this change in his affections, the dainty Duchess (voice of Eva Gabor) and her three kittens, Marie, Berlioz and Toulouse (voices of Liz English, Dean Clark and Gary Dubin), contentedly lap up the bowls of milk (laced with sleeping pills) the discontented butler has prepared for them.
The upper-crust kitties don’t realize anything is amiss until they are rudely awakened after the basket in which they were placed is tossed from a speeding motorcycle into a bumpy ditch. Lost and confused the unusually pampered pusses are pleased when they are found by a street-smart alley cat known as Tomas O’Malley (voice of Phil Harris). With a little purr-suasion, he offers to accompany them (and most especially the pretty Duchess in distress) back to their posh pad in Paris.
Despite enduring a few brief moments of peril, making the acquaintance of a couple of waddling wandering geese and their drunken uncle, and listening to some cool cats playing hot jazz, The Aristocats falls short in providing the expected Disney magic. While slapstick antics and parental concerns are mild, the biggest problem the production presents for young viewers is that they may also fall asleep before they discover the butler did it.