Gay Purr-ee (1962)

Gay Purr-ee
Directed by Abe Levitow
Written by Chuck and Dorothy Jones
1962/USA
United Productions of America/Warner Bros.
First viewing/Netflix Rental

Meowrice: [singing] When teacher can’t teach you, and preacher can’t preach you, when agents can’t reach you… the money cat can! The money cat knows where the money tree grows!

When I put together my list I was surprised never to have heard of this Disney animated feature.  Might be because it’s not Disney.

Mewsette (voiced by Judy Garland) lives on a farm with her ardent admirer Jaune-Tom (voiced by Robert Goulet) and wise-guy kitten Robespierre (voiced by Red Buttons).  She overhears a friend of the farm owner talking about the high life in Paris and soon starts putting on airs.  She stows away on the friend’s carriage.  Jaune-Tom and Robespierre go off in search of her.

The first cat Mewsette meets is the evil Meow-rice (voiced by Paul Frees).  He puts her into courtesan training with Mme. Rubens-Chatte (voiced by Hermoine Guingold) after which he plans to sell her as the “wife” to a rich, fat old American cat.  Meow-rice also promptly captures Jaune-Tom and Robespierre on their arrival and sells them as ships’ cats.  How will good triumph?  This was Goulet’s first film.

From the cast list and the Harold Arlen/Yip Harburg score you would think this would be great.  I’m in the minority here, perhaps, but I thought it was pretty terrible.  The dialogue and songs just didn’t appeal.  The animation recalls a mish-mash of French painters in the backgrounds.  Your mileage may vary.

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