Studio: Warner Home Video
Director(s): Hawley Pratt
Cast: Allan Sherman, Daws Butler
Genre: Family and Kids
Run Time: 25 minutes
MPAA Rating: NR
Common Sense Says: Classic Dr. Seuss story is mischievous fun for whole family.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat is a classic 1970s animated adaptation of the classic children's book. For decades, Theodor S. Geisel-aka-Dr. Seuss' six-foot-tall cat has delighted young children around the world with his silly songs, pals Thing One and Two, and general mischief making. There's nothing objectionable about the feature, although some parents and teachers might be put off by the idea of a stranger coming to the kids' house when parents are away. The Cat in the Hat is one of the most recognizable characters in children's literature, and this is the signature screen adaptation of his story.
- Families can talk about why Dr. Seuss' stories are so timeless. What is it about The Cat in the Hat that speaks to even the youngest readers and viewers? What is your favorite Dr. Seuss-based movie or show?
- Do you think the Cat in the Hat is a role model? If not, why do you think he's still so popular?
What's the story?
Based on Dr. Seuss' 1957 children's book, DR. SEUSS'S THE CAT IN THE HAT follows a young sister and brother who are home alone and bored to no end until in swoops a six-foot cat wearing a red-and-white stovepipe hat and a red bowtie. The Cat (voiced by Allan Sherman) immediately alarms the kids' pet fish, Mr. Krinklebein (Daws Butler), who insists the Cat immediately leave. But the Cat in the Hat returns, claiming the fish stole his moss-covered, three-handled family gradunza and enlisting the kids in a chaotic search for the family keepsake that nearly destroys the house. The chaos intensifies as the Cat invites Thing One and Thing Two along as well.
Is it any good?
This short-and-sweet adaptation of Theodor Geisel's iconic tale will prove nostalgic for many parents while still amusing the newest generation of Seuss devotees. There's something truly timeless about the Cat in the Hat and his mischievous antics, even if the animation and the musical numbers are a bit dated (the special first aired on CBS in 1971).The songs are all catchy (there's even a sing-along version of the movie in the bonus features), but by far the most memorable is the titular "Cat in the Hat" song in which the Cat details how to say his name in various languages, from French to "Eskimo." Kids will likely keep singing "chat chapeau and gato sombrero" after the musical number is finished. At only 25 minutes, this feature is a fine way to entertain even the youngest Seuss fan.
The Good Stuff
Messages: The Cat in the Hat creates a great deal of chaos, but despite all of the mild domestic destruction, he does finally listen to Mr. Krinklebein the Fish and cleans up the mess he, Things One and Two, and the kids created. Some critics don't believe the story would be written today, since it's about a stranger who swoops in to help latchkey kids have fun while their mom is away.
Educational Value: Kids will learn how to say "cat in the hat" in French, Spanish, German, "Eskimo," and Russian.
Role Models: Even though he's portrayed as the uptight rules-follower, Mr. Krinklebein is the only being in Sally and her brother's house who wants to listen to their mother and makes sure the kids aren't in danger, disobeying, or destroying the house. The Cat in the Hat is a mischievous force in the kids' lives, but he's ultimately a harmless catalyst for fun.
What to watch out for
Violence & scariness: Lots of mayhem/destruction during the cat's visit, but all is right in the end.
Sexy stuff: Not an issue
Language: The Cat teaches the kids how to say his name in different languages, including "Eskimo," which some consider to be a derogatory ethnic term.
Consumerism: Nothing in the movie itself, but Dr. Seuss' books and characters are visible as movies, TV specials, games, stuffed animals, etc.
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Not an issue