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An American Tail (1986)Director: Don BluthPerformers: Fievel Mousekewitz (Voice of Philip Glasser) Papa Mousekewitz (Voice of Nehemia Persoff) Mama Mouskewitz (Voice of Erica Yohn) Tanya Mousekewitz (Voice of Amy Green) Bridget (Voice of Cathianne Blore) Digit (Voice of Will Ryan) Gussie Mouseheimer (Voice of Madeline Kahn) Henri the Pigeon (Voice of Christopher Plummer) Honest John (Voice of Neil Ross) Irish mouse on boat (Voice of Warren Hayes) Italian mouse on boat (Voice of John Guarnieri) Moe (Voice of Hal Smith) Tiger (Voice of Dom DeLuise) Tony Toponi (Voice of Pat Musick) Warren T. Rat (Voice of John Finnegan) Summary Fievel Mousekewitz and his family (who are mice), who are from Russia run away from their homeland in the late 1800s, and board a boat headed for America to escape the Czarist rule of the Russian cats. Fievel, however, is separated from his family upon his arrival in New York Harbor. While he's searching for his family throughout NYC, he discovers that there are cats in America too (his father said there weren't). Fievel meets a variety of friendly and hostile mice, and learns the ins and outs of NYC and how to survive as an immigrant. Eventually he makes friends with a cat named Tiger and together, along with others, Fievel finds his family and lives happily ever after. This is an immigration movie geared towards kids to show and teach them about immigration to America.
It shows them the reasons they (the Mousekewitz) left their homeland Russia to come to America. In their case it was to escape the Czarist rule of the cats, parallel to most immigrants who escaped their land due to religious and political persecution. Once aboard the ship to America, it showed the long and unpleasant trip to New York Harbor, where in this movie, Fievel gets separated from his family to inclimate weather. Once they arrive in New York Harbor, it shows children the happiness immigrants got when they saw the statue of liberty and the process through Ellis Island to become a citizen of America. The rest of the movie takes place in America where it shows "political machines", such as Warren T. Rat, who really is a cat but takes advantage of new immigrants by dressing as a mouse and receiving the mice's trust. With trust came their money and broken promises, just as "political machines" really did back then.
The movie shows the immigrants hardships and poor living conditions in America with tenement housing and unsanitary conditions. This is a typical coming to America immigration movie, showing with good detail the entire immigration experience to and within America, both good and bad. Within this movie the Mousekewitz function as two types of immigrants:The Dream Seeker: Papa Mousekewitz repeatedly talks about how great America is; that there are no cats in America and the streets are paved with cheese! (I know that you are singing right now Professor Hymes). They are the typical immigrants who believe that America is great and that there is no wrong there. They seek the American dream of having religious freedom and to seek great jobs to make more money. They believe in the American way of life and want to become it. The Societal Victim: Within the movie, Fievel become a victim of Warren T.
Rat while in search of his family. He gets taken advantage of due to his trusting outlook, not knowing that he shouldn't trust everybody. In the end, due to his trust in others, Fievel is able to solve the problem in America (in his area mostly) by getting rid of the cats. Though he was a victim he was able to solve an American problem. This is a great movie to describe immigration. It uses a childish standard of furry animal characters to tell an underlying mature story of immigration.
At this level, anybody can understand what immigration was about. It is able to show every aspect that an immigrant went through to get to America and also why they came here to America. Once their arrival, it showed the Ellis Island experience along with the hardships and problems America faced. Within the movie was a little story of Fievel getting separated from his family, but it was able to show two different aspects of American life in a shorter time. It showed Fievels journey through America and it showed the rest of his families experience in America. Two different ways of life within one movie.
In my opinion, this is a GREAT movie to show in class. It is very straight forward with the whole immigration experience, and it has a catchy tune once in a while to keep the class up. Great movie to show in class..
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