(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)
So I have this recurring nightmare…
Well, actually I have several recurring nightmares. You don’t live a life like mine without picking up a few ghosts in the attic. Horned King nightmares. Coachman nightmares. Foodfight nightmares. And this new one where a blue cat seems awfully mad at me for something that I can’t remember doing but I’m getting off topic.
So, in this nightmare it’s like that scene from The Untouchables where all the gangsters are having a banquet except instead of gangsters it’s movie critics. All the big critics are there and I’m sitting where Jon Lovitz did in the movie. And Al Capone (Roger Ebert) is giving the big “Teamwork” speech and then he stops in mid-sentence and he looks at me.
“You.” He says.
“Yeah boss?” I say.
“You’re a critic, huh?”
“What did you think of Citizen Kane?”
“Uh, never actually saw it.”
“Not really into chick flicks.”
“It’s on my list, I swear to God. I’ve seen Crash though, and that won an Oscar so that’s something right?”
And then Roger Ebert beats me to death with his Pulitzer. And then I wake up in a cold sweat screaming “I’m a fraud! A FRAUD! AND THE UNTOUCHABLES SUCKED!”
Yeah, so I’m actually quite conscious of the fact that for someone who reviews movies I’ve seen relatively few of the Greatest Movies Ever Made. I’ve been slowly working on expanding my cinematic palette beyond animated films and computer game cut scenes however, and one of the all-time classics that I recently discovered and happily found earns its hype and then some is the 1952 musical Singin’ In the Rain. You probably don’t need me to tell you this but if by some chance you let this one slip you by then I whole-heartedly recommend you change your life and get right with God because that movie is awesome. Great songs, fantastic choreography, iconic performances and fruckin’ hilarious (I use “fruckin'” when “frickin” is too mild and “fuckin'” is too coarse). Today’s movie, Cat’s Don’t Dance has a lot in common with Singin’ in the Rain. They’re both love letters to the golden age of Hollywood and they both benefited from the talents of the great Gene Kelly, who acted as choreographer for CDD. It might sound weird for a cartoon to need a choreographer, but lemme tell ya: These cats can fruckin’ dance. And they do. In fact, this movie probably has one of the most misleading titles in cinema history, right up there with The Never Ending Story and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.
This movie was part of the wave of animated features that followed in the wake of the Disney renaissance, with studios desperate to have a Lion King to call their own. CDD was produced by Turner Animation, the great American animation studio that never was. This was actually the only full length animated feature the studio ever made before Turner was merged into Time Warner but on the strength of this movie I think they could have been a serious contender. They definitely had the talent, not least of which was director Mark Dindal who later made the fantastic Emperor’s New Groove and the actually-not-so-bad-if-you-go-in-with-an-open-mind Chicken Little. Let’s take a look.