Gay Purr-ee [1962]

This little gem has the pedigree of a purebred Persian: it features voices of no less than Judy Garland and Robert Goulet, the original songs of Wizard of Oz composers Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, and the writing talents of animation giant Chuck Jones. Garland gives life to our young heroine, Mewsette, a naive country kitty who runs off to seek the bright lights of Gay '90s Paris; Goulet is her devoted country bumpkin beau, Jaune-Tom, who sets off to find her (accompanied by the scrappy kitten Robespierre). While in Paris, Mewsette falls prey to the dastardly yellow-eyed Meowrice, and his compatriot, Madame Rubens-Chatte (played with hilarious swagger by Hermione Gingold), who runs a cathouse of ill repute off the Champs Élysées. The story is slim, itself a bit of an homage to Oz: country girl longs to spread her wings, leaves home, and has many adventures, only to discover that there's no place like home. But the stylized look of the film is breathtaking--the French countryside looks like miles and miles of Vincent Van Gogh's sensual Arles--and Garland and Goulet are in fine voice. If you love surreal animation, Judy Garland, cats, or Paris--or any combination thereof--this film will have you purring. --Anne Hurley

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