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seriously, I thought "Gay Pur-ree" is up there on par with Disney's
productions, even surpassing some of them. Sure it's no blockbuster, nor
it planned to be one. But it does manage a certain kind of epic magic,
akin to the impressionist style it emulates than to the "MTV video feel"
behind most of today's standard animation works.
Gay Pur-ree (which aired in my country as "La Fair Mewsette", to my mind a MUCH better title) is a throwback to an age of innocence (corny as this may sound) in more than one sense; in those days, a simple, humane story was all the charm a story needed (my, that DID sound corny indeed). The movie had that special feel, in spades. And to me (a very impressionable 8-year old at the time), it was a true saga. I was taken to another world, cried for the characters, memorized their names and the song. And I dreamed of it for a month after watching it. I felt the magic. I felt as they said you should feel after watching an animated movie.
Maybe not a must see, but certainly a must remember. Watch it, and cherish the memory.
It has everything! Action, romance (well, between two cartoon cats!)and adventure, in a family viewable arena! The children will adore this classic, I can practically gaurentee that! And the adults will laugh and cry along with it, cheering on the little Robespierre with his small body and lion's heart. Jon-Tom's tail and whiskers twitching as "The best mouse catcher in all of Paris!" spots a rodent hundreds of feet away (but never actually kills one). The pretty Mewsette who wants more than she can handle and ends up getting into trouble for it. Madame Rubinschottz, the large, pink cat of ill repute with the long eyelashes and big, red lips who sends out the despicable Meowrice, the scoundrel who is to bring a lovely kitty (Mewsette) into her fold. And lest we forget the "Money-Cats" (the scraggly, silly, bumbling black alley cats who shake their cat-behinds on the rooftops to the tune of "The money-cat knows where the money-tree grows"!). This cartoon feature is like those famous potato chips that claim you cant eat just one. Once you see this film, you will *always* want to go back!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Maybe I had advanced tastes for your average eight-year-old. I don't
know. What I DO know is that, ever since I saw this underrated classic
on TV at about that time, I fell in love with it, and that love affair
has continued down the years since. First, there's the voice casting.
You will never hear a better latter-day Judy Garland than here. She's
in great voice and seems to be genuinely enjoying herself in the role
of Mewsette. Ditto Robert Goulet, Red Buttons, Hermoine Gingold, and
company. The Harold Arlen - Yip Harburg songs, if not the classics they
wrote for "Wizard of Oz," very enjoyable. In fact, I believe this was
Arlen's last full-length score, after the Broadway flop "Saratoga,"
and, rumor has it, it was he who persuaded Garland to take the job. The
animation excellent and imaginative throughout, especially the sequence
where Mewsette is depicted in the styles of various artists, and even
though ace animator Abe Levitow gets sole directorial credit, it's
obvious that executive producer Chuck Jones had a pretty active hand in
things as well.
One final note: In addition to owning the video myself, we also have it in the video collection of the library where I work. When I recommend it to people as a good alternative to Disney&co for the kids, patrons will say they've never heard of it, but take it out on my recommendation. When they come back the next day, they always say almost the same thing: "Wow! This was great! My kids loved it and so did I. Why didn't I know about it before?" And I tell them "Because it's one of the great hidden treasures of animated features." Which, I think, says it exactly.
There are a few excellent points about this movie. Garland's voice sounds great here. The animation is quite unique, in that most of the backgrounds and such look like something out of an Impressionist painting, and are very beautiful. Red Buttons is very cute as Jaune-Tom's (Robert Goulet) small sidekick. The Harburg/Arlen songs are excellent, and they work nearly as well with Judy here as they did in The Wizard of Oz (1939), that marvel that truly started her entire career. The story is a little low on magic, but is pretty charming, and small children will like it. All in all, a treat for fans of Garland, Goulet, Harburg and Arlen, and original animation style.
This movie is marvelous. The story is "girl-rejects-boy;
girl-gets-into-trouble; boy-rescues-girl; all-live-happily-after." Very
romantically satisfying. Paul Frees' voice is perfect for Meowrice, as is
Robert Goulet's for Jeune-Tom. Judy Garland's voice is in fine fettle as
Mewsette. The impressionist drawing and background style is unique. I've
never seen another like it.
This is one of those movies parents can allow their children to enjoy without fear of their being exposed to too much sex and violence. On the other hand, adults can enjoy it, also, on a different level.
We still watch it regularly 3 or 4 times a year.
Gay Purr-ee is the most beautiful movie I ever remember seeing as a child. Unfortunately I don't remember the story-line in great detail, because many years have passed but I remember some very touching scenes from this movie. The seemingly endless journey of two cats travelling to Paris: following the railway line they jumped from sleeper to sleeper through the long night, exhausted. The lure of this enchanting city of Paris spurring them on against great odds. The treat of a saucer of pure cream, as luxurious as the best caviar. The development of the characters and the actor's voices that brought them alive was superb. The incidental music during the movie lifted my heart, transported my emotions on a roller-coaster ride of delight and sorrow. I will hunt for this title in all the video stores in town because I absolutely must be enchanted again by this lovely work of art.
This is a G rated film that features the voice talents of Judy Garland, Robert Goulet, Red Buttons, and a host of the best voice actors working in animation at the time, including Paul Frees (Boris Badinov), Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Barney Rubble, and many more) and June Foray (Rocky the Squirrel). It combines their voices with colorful animation and beautiful dream sequences put to songs. The story takes place in France during the 1890s and involves a beautiful young feline named Mewsette (Garland) who leaves her home on the farm to become the toast of Paris. Her boyfriend (Goulet) and his small sidekick (Buttons) come after her to bring her back, but the evil Meowrice (Frees) already has her in his clutches. I enjoyed this as a child and again as an adult.
I love Judy Garland, I have a few of her films. And I love movies that
are set in Paris like "The Last Time I Saw Paris" starring Elizabeth
Taylor (another favorite actress of mine) and Van Johnson; also the
Pixar animated film "Ratatouille." One last thing to say is that I am
cat lover, as I said many times.
Judy did a wonderful job as Mewsette, both in speaking and singing for her. And Chuck Jones did a excellent job with the production and animation of the film; Chuck Jones is one of my favorite animators. So overall, this film is an excellent piece of animation. It is colorful and beautifully animated, with songs you will remember and love.
I personally absolutely love this movie. I do think the title is rather
odd though, but everything else is simply terrific. Gay Purr-ee is
sophisticated, witty and charming and I have never tired watching it. I
love Judy Garland, and think her performances in The Wizard of Oz, Meet
Me in St Louis and A Star is Born are timeless. Chuck Jones is a
terrific animation director as well, who has directed some of the best
cartoons in existence in my opinion. And I love cats, they are cute,
clever and lovely animals, and asides from Gay Purr-ee other great cat
movies are The AristoCats(a film I always see this film compared to)
and especially Felidae which is quite a different kettle of fish.
Gay Purr-ee is simply terrific. The animation is lovely, the visual style is unique and colourful and I loved the character designs of especially Mewsette and Meowrice, Mewsette is beautiful and charming and Meowrice is quite sophisticated. The story is always engaging, it is a very simple story, but the simplicity works wonders, plus it is never devoid of charm. The dialogue has its fair share of wit too, very rarely does it feel forced or trite. The characters are likable, I have always had a soft spot for Meowrice myself and Robespierre is so cute. The pacing is brisk, and I loved the inspired scene with the impressionist painters especially Van Gogh.
My favourite assets though of Gay Purr-ee are the music and the voice work. The music is simply terrific. Harold Arlen and EG Harburg are one of the finest songwriting collaborations, and I loved their work here. The incidental music is very nice, and the overture is wonderful. Little Drops of Rain and Roses Red, Violets Blue are delightful, but my favourite is Paris is a Lonely Town which is quite touching. And of course the voice work is superb. This film is more than a showcase for Judy Garland's talents despite what some might think. She sings beautifully and she gives Mewsette a certain modesty and humanity that came through either when she was speaking or singing. Robert Goulet has a beautiful voice and Jean Tom avoids being bland thanks to the charm Goulet brings. Red Buttons is like his character Robespierre, cute and funny, while the wonderful Paul Frees is outstanding as Meowrice. And it was nice to hear Mel Blanc's distinctive voice again too.
Overall, charming, witty, sophisticated and I think unfairly underrated animated film. 9/10 Bethany Cox
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a nice alternative to the Disney films for those who enjoy the
really elaborate hand-drawn animation of those days but who want to
look at some of the other stuff that was being done. Chuck Jones' name
is on here as one of the writers, and his fingerprints are all over it.
There's great little moments like when the lead cat, Jaune-Tom (voied
by Robert Goulet) spots a mouse in the distance and his whole body is
electrified before he dashes off after it at light speed.
The film also provides an opportunity for Judy Garland, who voices the lead kitty Mewsette, to reunite with her "Wizard of Oz" songwriters "Yip" Harburg and Harold Arlen, although sadly none of the resulting tunes approach that film's magic. "Paris is a Lonely Town" is an OK ballad for Garland, and most of the songs work well in the movie, but the only section that I think is really memorable musically is the part with the alley-cats, "The Money Cat," which also features some of the film's most stylish animation. I'm a big fan of Harburg and Arlen so it really pains me to say that I just do not think that they were on top of their game exactly here. It's not bad music, and it's not bad for the movie, there's just nothing that really goes over the top and works on anything more than the basic level.
The animation in this film is elaborate, really almost over-elaborate. It's perfectly suitable for the song "Bubbles" to become very weird and hectic because it's a scene where Jaune-Tom and his buddy Robespierre (voiced distinctively by Red Buttons) are getting drunk for the first time. It's a bit like the pink elephants scene in "Dumbo", but with goofier music and not as scary. Some of the other musical/animation sequences are a bit dull and really just padding the film basically. The scene where Mewsette is supposed to be posed in all these portraits by Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec or whatever was really sort of bizarre even though it was obviously well-intentioned. "Little Drops of Rain" stops the film dead 1/3rd of the way into it and really has nothing to do with anything. The animation is fascinating, almost psychedelic which is striking in 1962, but it really isn't hinged to the movie very strongly. The way the music and the plot are mixed isn't very fluid, because instead of showing Mewsette or Jaunte-Tom singing in character they cut away to these montages which are somehow at the same time the one thing really worth seeing here especially for an adult viewer but also just seem very poorly integrated with the plot for the most part so that they always seem to stop the action. Again that's with the exception of "Bubbles", where it actually made sense for them to suddenly go into an intoxicated dream-vision.
This is a interesting film; it's worth seeing. I think the integration of Garland's distinctive voice with this cute kitten character, which I was doubtful about going into the film, worked remarkably well. Goulet's voice is genial and matches the characterization in the animation quite well also. There's more perfect (oh god, don't let me say "purr-fect") casting with Hermione Gingold as a kind of fattened feline madame.
I didn't care for the story overall however. It's a rather conservative story for people like Harburg and Arlen to be involved with: basically the cats are happy in the country but the woman thinks that she's going to be happier in the city because she hears a society lady talking about it, so she runs off. Yes that's her big independent character-building moment, about all that there is. It's romantic that Jaune-Tom followed her, and I enjoyed his adventures with Robespierre in Alaska and so forth, but then in the end the city is just this scary evil place and it turns out everybody would have been happier if they had just stayed home all along. And to me that's just not a very exciting or worthwhile message and I guess I just do not see the point of the movie other than just the fact that all these particular talents weren't working on anything better.
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