Honoring the Heroine: Duchess

When I started this blog, the intention was to talk about good female characters as opposed to complaining about bad ones. This month though, expect some criticism from me, because the ladies I intend to feature this time around barely made the cut. And the main reason why I struggled with myself to include them, is a combination of really good writing with really questionable one. Take Duchess. She is, all in all, a really well done character – or a true Lady. Pampered and protected, she raises her children in a secure environment – only to wake up one day to find herself and her children abandoned at the country side. It’s a situation which is truly terrifying if you think about it. Just imagine you go to sleep and when you wake up you are far away from everything you know. Duchess takes it in stride though, staying strong for her children and making the best out of her situation. And that’s where the problem in this movie start. Because, you see, she immediately gets a knight in shining armour (well, a rough street cat with a good heart) to help her out. At no point she is really required to do something too far out of her comfort zone, because she has a protector who takes on the danger for her. Duchess On the upside, she herself doesn’t really end up in distress. On the downside, her daughter Marie does. Honestly, she has three kittens, but every single time it is Marie who ends up in danger, prompting Duchess to scream “Marie!!!!” while her shining knight leaps to the rescue. Well, at least once he has to get rescued too, and by females to boot, but not by Duchess, but by two random geese, and he wouldn’t have been in danger in the first place if not for Marie’s inability to stay safe.

But if you ignore this and just look at Duchess as character she is a lot of fun. No matter who she encounters, she doesn’t rush to judgement and is always fast to point out the good character traits of everyone. She is able to adapt to every kind of company while not giving up her own brand of elegance. She is not free of prejudices (for example towards alley cats) but she is open to experiences which might alter her opinion. And she  has her priorities in order, and she certainly won’t give up her intention to go back home, no matter how much in love she is.

So all in all a very good character, which unfortunately starred in a movie with a lot of problems. Miss Bianca is in a lot of ways the 2.0 version of her, not because she had the same English voice actor, but because she has a very similar personality, with an additional sense of adventure. To be honest, I would love to see a modern version of this kind of character. Nothing better than a lady with claws.

Quote: “Aristocats do not practice biting and clawing, and things like that. It’s just horrible!”

Bonus Marie Quote: “Ladies don’t start fights, but they can finish them.”

While I personally really like “The Aristocats”, I am well aware that the reason for this is a lot of nostalgia. Objectively speaking the movie is mediocre. It is, though, the perfect movie for younger children. Nothing truly terrifying, a lot of funny scenes, but neither stupid nor preachy, perfect for some harmless entertainment. Not up with Disney’s best, but certainly better than most of the movies made for this particular age group.  

One thought on “Honoring the Heroine: Duchess

  1. Wow. Amazing how people can have such different responses to the same thing. To me she seemed ambivalent and even bored the whole movie. I didn’t get any of that spunk or spirit you saw. To me she was a lame cat version of lady and the tramp. Everything in the movie was a lame version of either Lady or 101 Dalmatians. (with a little Jungle Book thrown in there). Plus, I didn’t think the movie looked nice and had a lame villain.

    But that’s the movie. The Duchess really did seem bored to me by everything that happened to her and I got no chemistry between her and Thomas (who should not have an American accent. That makes no sense). In 101 Pongo and Perdy come so close to getting caught. There is a real sense of peril. You can hear it in their voices. I never got moments like that with The Duchess.

    Oh well. I have a friend who it is her favorite movie so to each her own I guess. It’s just interesting when we see characters so differently.

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