The Aristocats is the first movie that was made entirely without Walt’s oversight. And it shows.
Without Walt, five of the famed “Nine Old Men” helped shape the film, which took four years and $4-million to make. On its release, it was both a critical and box office success, though time has treated it less well than others in the Disney canon.
The storytelling is slow, the language haughty and the characterizations exaggerated. It has not aged well and today it remains one of the more easily forgotten titles.
But, in 1970 film critics hailed it as evidence that the Disney company had not only survived Walt’s death, it had learned to thrive.
The New York Times called it “amusing, smoothly machined and beautifully coloured,” while noting “the animal characters with their human nuances are the main dish and delight, ranging from cute to hilarious, thanks to animation wizardry and flavoursome voice-matching.”