The opening credits establish the credentials, as it were. The screen is divided into panels, and the actors are introduced one by one as cartoon portraits which dissolve into Mewsette (Judy Garland), Jaune-Tom (Robert Goulet), etc. Paul Frees (Meowrice) is drawn as a Toulouse-Lautrec figure.
The cartooning is continuously amusing, beginning with a blue butterfly lighting on snow-white Mewsette’s head, forming a bow. Jaune-Tom becomes a sizzling lightningbolt in pursuit of a mouse. Black-and-white Meowrice is in dinner clothes, and presses his tail between blocks of wood for an engagement. Mewsette leaves the countryside and falls into his Parisian clutches, where she becomes an artist’s model (to Degas, Renoir, Gauguin, Picasso), but fame is fleeting.
It’s controlled by Meowrice, as he and his shadowy henchcats sing. “Magazine covers, politics and law” are in his pocket, “if anyone can save you, the money cat can.”
At the Mewlon Rouge, Toulouse-Lautrec himself is sipping cognac while the cat-cat dancers kick. It’s really more an insider’s view of Paris, which ultimately is much like any other great city. The countless approaches to French art are continually interesting, and the culmination adds to the sense that Dufy’s La Fée Électricité is taken cognizance of.
Songs by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, a constant stream of jokes and gags, the singers, the actors, all animated in UPA’s controlled and agile style.
Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol
UPA’s cartoon record of a Tony-winning performance on Broadway (even if the star has a little trouble finding the stage entrance), one of the finest.