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File:Cats dont dance.jpg

They don't make films like this anymore...

Cats Don't Dance is a 1997 film, and, other than The Pagemaster in 1994, the only one made by Turner Entertainment's animation unit before Warner Bros took over. The film was choreographed by Gene Kelly, and the main character was based on him as well. Kelly died in 1996 mid-production.

The film takes place in the Golden Age of Hollywood in the year 1939, and the plot centers around a singing and dancing cat named Danny, who dreams of being a big movie star. He gets a role in the latest movie starring sickeningly adorable child star Darla Dimple, only to find out the hard way that animals in Hollywood only get minor roles. Determined to show Hollywood their talent, Danny rounds up some of his newfound friends, and tries to find a way to impress the studio exec producing the film. When Darla finds out about this, she starts to show her true (read: evil) nature, and decides to sabotage the animals' plans, so they don't steal her spotlight.

This movie contains many Shout Outs to classic films, most notably Singin in The Rain and Sunset Boulevard. Although it was underpromoted and it underperformed at the box office, it has a loyal following to this day (particularly among the Furry Fandom).

Tropes used in Cats Don't Dance include:

Woolie: Ah, poor Sawyer. I thought she'd be the one to make it. Such a dancer, with a voice like an angel...


Darla: Max, invite that teaaaaaa... [iris out on huge, disturbing grin]


Sawyer: Frankly, Clark, I don't give a--
Clark: (Whining) Sawyer!


"How does the kittycat go?"
"Very good."


Danny: Looks like we're gonna be the only two cats on the ark.
Sawyer: So much for preserving the species.


Tilly: Well?
Sawyer: I can't do this.
Tilly: And?
Sawyer: I can't do this.
Tilly: So?
Sawyer: I can't believe I'm doing this...


Max: Ping!


Now the people they were so bad
That the Lord made the rain come down.
And he washed away the bad cities,
And he washed away the bad towns,
And all of the people drowned!
[cherubic smile and cute pose while anguished silhouettes sink in the background]


Darla: singing and all of the people drowned! grins charmingly

  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Darla, In-Universe.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Danny's attempt to get the animals' talent noticed allows Darla to make things much worse for them.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Darla's attempts to stop the animal's performance result in one of the most spectacular auditions in all cinema history, complete with gunfire and spectacular light performances.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: This is parodied in the end credits, with "No animals were harmed in the making of this film. Although, some were erased and had to be redrawn."
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Mammoth Studios, run by "L.B. Mammoth", is clearly MGM. Also, Darla's looks are obviously based on Shirley Temple with some Jane Withers thrown in, and her first name is taken from another child star.
  • Not So Stoic: During the Animal Jam song, Sawyer begins typing along to the beat, her color getting a bit brighter, and then enthusiastically returns the typing carriage to its original position, only to suddenly get hold of herself and straighten up. Also happens again just a few seconds later when she accidentally makes an emergency ladder slam to the ground... with her on it. Her fur puffs up and her claws extend while she makes a very amusing neurotic expression, eyes darting around, then immediately pretends nothing happened and composes herself. Typical cat.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: When Darla is escorting Danny out of her mansion after giving him the Big and Loud musical number, Max holds a door open for them. They walk down the hall a short way, and Max is waiting for them at the exit with Danny's hat, despite him never moving from the first door. Leads to a Funny Moment when Danny stops, stares at Max, turns his head to see if he's still holding the door, then turns back and stares ahead blankly with a befuddled expression as Darla hands him his hat. Can be seen here at 4:18
  • Oh Crap:
  • Opposites Attract: Here's a hint. They're both cats.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: The animals pairs in "Li'l Ark Angel" are in matching sailor suits, pink and blue. And that's the least cutesy thing about that picture.
  • The Pollyanna: Tilly.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: Mammoth Pictures' "Optimum est Maximum"; which translates to "Bigger is Better".
  • Prima Donna Director: Flanigan could be described as such.
  • Princess Curls: Darla wears them.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Not that she's official royalty, but Darla is surrounded by sugar-pink and purple and hearts and cuddly wuddly stuffed animals to project an image of innocent cuteness.
  • Red-Furred Hero: Danny.
  • Redhead in Green: Danny.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • Rousing Speech: Danny giving this to the animals when asked why they're even staying in Hollywood since they couldn't become actors: because they just couldn't forget their dreams.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: A lamb was asked to play this role.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Inverted in Danny and Sawyer; more like "Keet and Kuudere".
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Darla takes this one Up to Eleven! Doesn't do any of her own dirty work (Sloth), loves her some sweets and then some (Gluttony), absolutely loses her shit sharing the spotlight (takes care of Wrath and Greed, with someone else getting the spotlight instead of her covering Envy), thinks she's the hottest thing going (Pride), and has an insatiable Lust for attention.
  • Shipper on Deck: Tilly is supportive of Danny and Sawyer together. She even tried to get Sawyer all neat when she's about to meet him (again).
  • Show Within a Show
  • Sitting Sexy on a Piano: During Darla's "Big and Loud" number — since it's a Max-sized piano and she's small, she can roll around for several minutes with no danger of falling off.
  • Spoiled Brat: Darla, obviously.
  • Squashed Flat: Darla gets this treatment in the climax.
  • Stealth Hi Bye: Max.
  • Stepford Smiler: Darla.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Parodied with Li'l Ark Angel, and Darla in general. In-universe example.
  • Three Act Structure
  • Trash Can Band: The song "Animal Jam" in the middle of the movie revolves around this.
  • Triumphant Reprise: At the beginning of the movie, "Our Time Has Come" played during Danny's trip to Hollywood. At end of the film when Danny and the others became stars, it's played again in a much louder tone.
  • Turtle Power: T.W. Turtle. He even gets to play in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie!
  • Twitchy Eye: Darla.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: When Danny jumps off the bus to explain his (ultimately successful) plan to Pudge, the dialogue is replaced with Mickey Mousing.
  • The Vamp: Funnily and disturbingly enough, Darla.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Darla when all her efforts to stop the animals impromptu number in the finale backfire immensely. It ends with her outing herself to an audience while she's ranting at Danny.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Guess who.
  • White-Furred Pretty Cat: Sawyer.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Danny.
  • Wingding Eyes: Darla's flaming-skull eyes when she pulls the Mother Of All Switches.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Pudge's electric handshake shocks T.W. at the end.