The Adventures of Milo and Otis
|The Adventures of Milo and Otis|
|Directed by||Masanori Hata|
|Written by||Masanori Hata|
Mark Saltzman (English version)
|Produced by||Masuru Kakutani|
|Edited by||Chizuko Osada|
|Distributed by||Toho (Japan)|
Columbia Pictures (United States)
|92 minutes (Japan)|
77 minutes (United States)
English (United States)
|Box office||$136.3 million (est.)|
The Adventures of Milo and Otis (子猫物語, Koneko Monogatari, lit. "A Kitten's Story"; alternate English title, The Adventures of Chatran) is a 1986 Japanese adventure comedy-drama film about two animals, Milo (an orange tabby cat) and Otis (a pug). The original Japanese version, narrated by Shigeru Tsuyuki and with poetry recitation by Kyōko Koizumi, was released on July 12, 1986. Columbia Pictures removed 15 minutes from the original film and released a shorter English-language version, written by Mark Saltzman and narrated by Dudley Moore, on August 25, 1989.
The film opens in 1986 on Nippon Farm, with a cat named Moth Ari who has given birth to kittens. One of the kittens is named Milo (lit. Brown tiger (チャトラン, Chatoran), or Chatran in the Japanese version) and has a habit of being too curious and getting himself into trouble. He finds a pug puppy named Otis (プー助 (Pūsuke), or Poosky in the Japanese version) and they soon become friends. When Milo is hiding inside a box floating in the river, it breaks loose and he accidentally drifts downstream. Otis runs after Milo, who himself goes on many adventures, escaping one obstacle after another.
Milo encounters a bear, escapes from a raven and Deadwood Swamp, steals a dead muskrat from a fox, follows a train-track of a train called Nippon Bearway to the home of a deer who shelters him, sleeps in a nest with an owl, stays for a while with a pig and her piglets, catches a fish and is robbed of it by a raccoon, is mobbed by seagulls, and evades another bear, then a snake, before falling into a deep pit.
For his part, Otis follows Milo throughout, usually only an hour behind and less than a mile out of range. Finally, the two catch up with one another. While Milo is in the hole, Otis pulls him out by means of a rope. Milo and Otis are reunited, and soon find mates of their own: Joyce, a white cat, for Milo; and Sondra, a French pug, for Otis. Afterward, they briefly part ways and raise offspring of their own. Later, Milo, Otis, Joyce, and Sondra (along with their litters) happily find their way back together through the forest to their farm as the credits roll.
The original Japanese soundtrack, released as The Adventures of Chatran: Original Soundtrack, was composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto and included "Koneko Monogatari" (子猫物語), a theme song performed by Keiko Yoshinaga. During the promotion of the film in Japan, the song "Neko Jita Gokoro mo Koi no Uchi" (猫舌ごころも恋のうち, "My Heart Has a Dislike for Love", lit. I with a cat tongue heart toward romance), originally recorded by Ushiroyubi Sasaregumi for the Fuji TV anime series High School Kimengumi, was used in commercials for the film.
The musical score for the English-language version was composed by Michael Boddicker. Music was borrowed from Elmer Bernstein's score to To Kill a Mockingbird (specifically the two cues, "Roll in the Tire" and "Peek-a-boo" with minor changes in the music), and John Williams' score to The Witches of Eastwick (using these cues "The Township of Eastwick" and "Have Another Cherry!", again with minor changes in the music). The song "Walk Outside", written by Dick Tarrier, is performed by Dan Crow in the opening shots and end credits.
The English-language version of the film also contained music by classical composers including:
- "Soldier's Dance" from William Tell by Gioachino Rossini
- "Serenade" by Franz Schubert
- Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland
- "Of Foreign Lands and People" from Scenes from Childhood by Robert Schumann
- King Cotton by John Philip Sousa
- "Auf dem Wasser zu singen", D 774 by Franz Schubert
- "The Elephant" from The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens
- "People with Long Ears" from The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns
- "Dialogue Between the Wind and the Waves" from La Mer by Claude Debussy
- Perpetuum Mobile, Op. 257 by Johann Strauss II
- "How Beautifully Blue the Sky" by Gilbert and Sullivan
- Waltz No. 16 in A-flat Major, Op. posth. by Frédéric Chopin
- Impromptu in B-flat by Franz Schubert
- "Berceuse" from Dolly Suite, Op. 56 by Gabriel Fauré
- "Bourrée" from Terpsichore by Michael Praetorius
- Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 by Edvard Grieg
- "Symphony in D Minor" by Cesar Franck
Video game adaptation
It was the number-one Japanese film on the domestic market in 1986, earning ¥5.4 billion in distribution income that year. At the time, it was the third highest-grossing film ever in Japan, beaten only by E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Antarctica (1983).
As of 2012, the film has grossed ¥9.8 billion ($123 million) in Japan. In the United States, The Adventures of Milo and Otis grossed $13.3 million. Combined, the film has grossed an estimated total of approximately $136.3 million worldwide.
Animal cruelty allegations
When the film was first released, several Australian animal rights organizations raised allegations of animal cruelty during filming and called for a boycott. The Sunday Mail reported at the time that Animal Liberation Queensland founder Jacqui Kent alleged the killing of more than 20 kittens during production and added that she was disturbed by reports from Europe which alleged that other animals had been injured, as in one case where a producer had allegedly broken a cat's paw to make it appear unsteady on its feet. Other scenes that were the source of controversy were a scene of a cat falling off a cliff and trying to climb back up, and a scene of a pug fighting a bear, all of which were deleted from the American version. Kent said her organization had a number of complaints from people who had seen the film and were concerned that it could not have been made without cruelty. The Tasmanian and Victorian branches of the RSPCA also alleged abuse.
The film was reported to have the approval of the American Humane Society, despite not having their officers present during filming. The American Humane Association attempted to investigate cruelty rumors through "contacts in Europe who normally have information on movies throughout the world". While noting that the contacts had also heard the allegations, they were unable to verify them. The organization also reported, "We have tried through humane people in Japan, and through another Japanese producer to determine if these rumors are true, but everything has led to a dead end." The same report noted that several Japanese Humane Societies allowed their names to be used in connection with the film and that the film "shows no animals being injured or harmed."
- The Japanese Academy (1987)
- Won: Popularity Award - Most Popular Film
- Nominated: Award of the Japanese Academy - Best Music Score (Ryuichi Sakamoto)
- Young Artist Awards (1990)
- Nominated: Young Artist Award - Best Family Motion Picture – Adventure
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