Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: May 14, 2024
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats (Blu-ray Review)


Paul Sommer, Charles A. Nichols, Ray Patterson

Release Date(s)

1988 (February 20, 2024)


Hanna-Barbera (Warner Archive Collection)
  • Film/Program Grade: B
  • Video Grade: B
  • Audio Grade: B
  • Extras Grade: F

Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats (Blu-ray)



During the 1980s, Hanna-Barbera was in full swing with any number of TV shows, including their previous hits which were in constant rotation in re-runs. However, a return to the classic characters of old in some new adventures was definitely needed, and from 1987 to 1988, they produced ten syndicated made-for-TV feature films starring many of their most popular stars, including Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Huckleberry Hound, Top Cat, and many others. This series eventually became known collectively as Hanna-Barbera’s Superstars 10, and 36 years later, the folks at the Warner Archive Collection have released all of the films on Blu-ray for the first time.

Premiering on March 20, 1988, Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats sees the Brooklyn-based, trouble-making alley gang finding themselves a bit of luck when the kind-hearted Benny the Ball is named as a possible beneficiary by the wealthy, though recently-deceased, Gertrude Vandergelt. They soon head for Beverly Hills to hear the reading of the will and since the primary benefactor, Getrude’s young niece Amy, appears to be missing, Benny is named sole beneficiary to the Vanderbelt fortune. However, in the event that anything should happen to him within the next two days, Vanderbelt’s butler Snerdly and his pet dog Rasputin will receive the inheritance. As Benny grows more and more homesick and Top Cat and Co. continue to reap the benefits of Benny’s good luck, Snerdly and Rasputin do everything they can to try and get their hands on the money, including hiding Amy’s whereabouts from everyone, and doing away with Benny.

This fifth animated TV movie in the Superstars 10 series is a little different than the previous films, with obvious attempts to make the world and the characters seem more modern. Not only is there a blatant Beverly Hills Cop reference (I suppose one would be hard-pressed to not make a movie in the 1980s that takes place in Beverly Hills without at least a nod to Beverly Hills Cop since it was sitting firmly in the zeitgeist at the time), as well as a couple of bouts of rap by our intrepid felines, which isn’t as bad as it sounds... believe me, there’s much worse out there. The plot is fun and the characters are all accounted for, even Officer Dibble, who is obviously shoehorned into the plot, even if it feels overtly convenient. This is also the point in the series when they start borrowing music cues from previous entries, which is not an altogether bad thing, but it does stand out, especially when you watch these shows back to back. All said and done, Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats is one of the more enjoyable and rewatchable films in the series, and anyone with a soft spot for Top Cat and the gang will enjoy it that much more.

Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats was animated and finished on 35 mm film at the aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Warner Archive brings the film to Blu-ray on a BD-50 disc, maintaining its original television aspect ratio. This release, like the previous Hanna-Barbera Blu-ray releases, once again offers a wonderful upgrade with bitrates sitting comfortably between 30 and 40Mbps, with linework, cel dirt, and other debris inherent to the original animation fully intact. This may be the softest presentation so far, but only in so much as there’s obvious anomalies in the way that the animation was captured, which is baked in and can’t be repaired. It’s also a bit scrubbed, but everything is organic to the original source. Color and contrast levels are consistently pleasant as well, with no major visual deficits outside of occasional speckling and those aforementioned animation anomalies.

Audio is presented in English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio with optional subtitles in English SDH. It’s a mostly satisfying presentation that’s well-balanced, offering plenty of support for dialogue, score, and sound effects. The quality of the audio dips slightly from 60:20 to 60:46, sounding almost muffled in a mono sort of way, as if it was taken from another source, but the rest of the presentation is strong and clean with no leftover instances of hiss or distortion.

No extras have been included with this single-disc release of Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats, but for people of a certain age who saw these films when they originally aired on TV, or rented them on VHS through Worldvision Enterprises, seeing them in such high quality is a real treat. Thankfully, Warner Archive realized that not everybody may like every film in this series, and they’ve given them the opportunity to purchase them individually, or pick them all up in the Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 Blu-ray boxed set; which, if you’re planning on getting all of them, is the better bargain. Regardless, it’s great to see these films finally make it past the DVD format.

- Tim Salmons

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