Directed by Abe Levitow
Written by Chuck and Dorothy Jones
United Productions of America/Warner Bros.
First viewing/Netflix Rental
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.