“Everybody's pickin‘ up on that feline beat!” goes the jazzy tune from the 1970 Disney film The Aristocats. It's an underappreciated film, but cat lovers will find it amusing. It's an original story with no basis in prior fairy tales, legends or literature unlike the more better known Disney classics.
This, along with The Jungle Book, are the last two films Walt Disney himself had a say in before his death in 1966. For every fan of Aristocats, pets must have aristocats names!
About the Aristocats Movie
The movie takes place in turn of the century Paris, France. The plot is kicked off when a butler named Edgar Balthazar overhears his mistress, Madame Adelaide Bonfamille, settling her will with her lawyer. It seems Madame Bonfamille plans to leave everything to her four cats. Edgar will inherit everything after the cats die.
Too impatient to wait the decade or so it will take for the kittens to pass on from old age, Edgar devises an evil plan. Edgar drugs the cats and plans to dispose of them out in the countryside.
Out in the countryside, Edgar gets chased off by two hounds leaving the family of cats wake up miles from home. Fortunately, they meet a friendly tomcat named Thomas O'Malley.
Thomas O'Malley offers to be guide and bodyguard to Duchess and her kittens, getting them back to their home in Paris. They meet a family of geese on their way. In the city, they stay the night with O'Malley's jazz loving friends. O'Malley and Duchess fall in love on the way, but she tells him that she couldn't think about leaving her kind and caring owner.
Edgar, meanwhile, is trying to make sure the cats he tried to be rid of stay gone. When he manages to catch the cat family a second time, a mouse named Roquefort agrees to fetch O'Malley for help.
The climax of the film has all of the animals ganging up on Edgar and shipping him off to Timbuktu. Madame Bonfamille rewrites her will so that Edgar is excluded and O'Malley is included. She also starts a charity that will provide homes for all of Paris's stray cats.
Fans of Green Acres will recognize the voice talents of Eva Gabor and Pat Buttram, who were in various other Disney features. Fans of The Beverly Hillbillies will recognize Frou-Frou the Horse as Nancy “Miss Hathaway” Kulp.
Scat Cat is voiced by jazz legend Scatman Crothers. Billy Boss was voiced by Thurl Ravenscroft, who would later voice another feline character named Tony the Tiger in the Frosted Flakes commercials.
You want names? How about Abraham DeLacey Giuseppe Casey Thomas O'Malley after the male protagonist. His leading lady is the appropriately named Duchess who behaves like a grand lady. Berlioz, the black kitten who plays piano, was named for the French composer Hector Berlioz.
Toulouse, the orange kitten who paints, was named for the French post-impressionist painter and Art Noveau illustrator Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Marie, the rather prissy white kitten who likes to sing, was named for Marie Antoinette.
O'Malley's best friends prior to meeting Duchess and her kittens are Scat Cat and his band of jazz loving cats. The most problematic of these cats is Shun Gon, who, like Si and Am from Lady and the Tramp, is a Siamese cat portrayed as a bit of an Asian stereotype.
Keep in mind, the band also has an English stereotype in Hit Cat, an Italian stereotype in Peppo and a Russian stereotype in Billy Boss.
Aristocats Names of Other Animals
Oddly enough, the best friend of Duchess and her kittens is a mouse named Roquefort after a French cheese. Incidentally, the mold that makes this sort of cheese is closely related to penicillin, so it’s appropriate that someone with the name Roquefort be helpful. Two hounds that help the cats and provide comic relief are Napoleon and Lafayette, both ironically named after French military strategists.
Edgar's horse is named Frou-Frou, a Francophonic name synonymous with being obnoxiously frilly and fancy. It’s an ironic name for a no-nonsense horse like her. Two British geese that save O’Malley from a river are named Amelia and Abigail. The two geese are last seen waddling off with their Uncle Waldo.
Amelia means “Industrious” and while she and her sister seem, well, flighty, they are willing to help O’Malley when it’s clear he can’t swim. Abigail means “Father's joy”.
Well, her uncle has a paternal adoration for both her and her sister! As for Waldo, he doesn't quite live up to his name, meaning “to rule”. He probably does get lost easily like another certain Waldo and his name sounds like “waddle”.
Names of the Aristocats Human Characters
Duchess and her kittens (and eventually O'Malley) are owned by a retired opera star named Madame Adelaide Bonfamille. Since her first name means “Of a noble sort” and her last name means “good family”, this is an appropriate name for an aristocratic lady who loves her cats like family. The villain of the piece is the buffoonish butler Edgar Balthazar.
Edgar is an appropriate name for this money hungry butler since it means “To spear wealth”. This name and the name Balthazar are both names associated with kings, making them both ironic names for a butler. Madame Bonfamille's lawyer is named Georges Hautecourt. His last name means “high court” in Fench, making it an appropriate name for a lawyer.
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