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HomeFashion Bomb DailyHow Disney’s ‘Aristrocats’ inspired a classic ‘Pulp Fiction’ scene

How Disney’s ‘Aristrocats’ inspired a classic ‘Pulp Fiction’ scene

After shocking Hollywood with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction in the early 1990s, Quentin Tarantino led an impressively consistent cinematic career like no other. His auteur approach makes for a distinctive style seen throughout each film. His nine movies so far have followed a familiar pattern of dark comedy, sensationalised violence and a reel of recurring A-listers who bring top-flight entertainment to any story, from 1800s vengeance stories to satirical studies of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

In March, Tarantino revealed that his tenth and final movie, The Movie Critic, will be his last, as he has long prognosticated. Understandably, many fans of the 60-year-old filmmaker have lamented in social media posts following the confirmation, but at least we can find solace in his immortal filmography. 

Reflecting on the first nine movies (Kill Bill volumes One and Two counting as one movie), most fans will single out 1994’s Pulp Fiction, Tarantino’s second movie, as his most consummate cinematic contribution. In the bulletproof script, Tarantino develops a series of strong characters, including Samuel L. Jackson’s Jules Winnfield, John Travolta’s Vincent Vega, Uma Thurman’s Mia Wallace and Bruce Willis’ Butch Coolidge. 

The characters walk us through a crime thriller fraught with graphic violence and dark comedy before the multiple storylines converge into a Tarantinian climax. In one of the narrative sequences, Vega is asked by his boss, Marsellus, to take his wife, Mia, out for an evening. 

Before the infamous heroin overdose incident, the pair hang out in a ’50s-style diner bar for a drink and a dance. Later, Vega, who tries to hide an internal struggle between loyal duty and sexual impulse, finds himself on the dancefloor cutting shapes to the sound of Chuck Berry’s ‘You Never Can Tell’ opposite Wallace. While Wallace appears relatively fluid in her motions, Vega tries to copy her twisting motions to comic effect. 

In a 2013 appearance on the BBC’s The Graham Norton Show, Tarantino discussed the classic dance scene from Pulp Fiction, revealing that it was partly inspired by Disney’s 1970 animated movie The Aristocats.

After showing the audience some on-set footage of Tarantino demonstrating to Travolta how he should choreograph the scene, Norton said: “You can’t imagine how ballsy it is. You’re a young director; you’ve got John Travolta, and you’re showing him how to dance – you’re teaching him how to dance.”

“I didn’t have to teach John Travolta how to dance,” Tarantino replied. “I wanted him to dance a particular way. It was a certain kind of twist. […] It’s a twist. Now twists can be kind of boring, so part of the thing about it is, I wanted Vincent and Mia – i.e. Uma Thurman – to have two different characters when they twist, alright?”

“When Vince twists, I wanted him to be kind of rigid,” Tarantino continued before demonstrating the dance move to applause and laughter. “Thank you! But when Mia twists, the image that I had in my mind was the Zsa Zsa Gabor cat from The Aristocats. And there’s that one little scene where the Aristocats dance, and she kind of like [demonstrates a more fluid, cat-like twist].”

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