- “"Edgar, you sly old fox!"”
- ―Edgar Bathazar
Edgar Balthazar is the main antagonist in Disney's 1970 animated feature film The Aristocats. He is the loyal butler to rich millionairess Madame Bonfamille, until he finds out that she is going to leave her entire fortune to Duchess and her kittens instead of him, making him greedy and determined not to let anyone stand in his way of getting the fortune himself.
Edgar is portrayed as a polite and sophisticated butler, yet underneath his exterior lies a scheming, greedy, and impatient man (though this attitude only sparks because Madame Bonfamille's fortune is mentioned; otherwise, he would have willingly remained loyal to his mistress, thus eliminating his antagonist role).
While arrogant and greedy, Edgar does not seem to be extremely cruel. It would have been easy for him to just kill Duchess and her kittens, but instead, he chooses only to kidnap them and release them into the French countryside; when that doesn't work, he decides to ship them to Timbuktu as well as when he fought Thomas O'Malley with a pitchfork, he uses it to restrain the cat instead of impaling and killing him. This means that Edgar clearly has a better sense of morality than villains like Cruella De Vil and is far more clumsy than villainous, as evidenced from his bumbling antics, from stumbling over a trash can to mistaking a tree branch for a gun to his back, making a clumsy U-turn on his motorcycle away from the police station to riding his motorcycle down the subway stairs by mistake, spitting out a mouthful of wine in shock when he hears the kittens meowing loudly at the door, getting his shoelaces tied together by Roquefort the mouse and tripping on them, and (most comical of all) getting in a situation involving Napoleon and Lafayette (two farm dogs) attacking him. He is also more misunderstood than evil, as shown when he didn't hear about the entire truth of the will and jumped to conclusions.
Though certainly clever and deceitful, Edgar really isn't as intelligent as he thinks he is. He seems to take the expression that cats have nine lives literally, explaining his belief that he'd be dead long before the cats pass away, not to mention that he counted the years they would live one after the other. He also doesn't seem to realize that even if Duchess and her kittens could outlive him, he'd still have control over their inherited fortune, since, as cats, they obviously can't use money by themselves and he'd simply have been legally obligated to care for them until they reached the end of their lives. However, one explanation may be that Edgar might not have wanted to spend some of the money on the cats' welfare and care, when he really just wants it all for himself.
Role in the film
Edgar starts off as Madame Adelaide's faithful butler, yet upon overhearing that she plans to leave her entire estate and fortune to her cats and then to Edgar himself after they die, he begins scheming to get rid of them, erroneously calculating that by the time the cats die (as he believed that the cats literally possess nine lives), he will already have died of old age (unaware that he, of course, will be kept in charge of the fortune). He mixes sleeping pills with the cats' milk that afternoon, and nearly tasted the milk before realizing the better of it. Once the cats are all asleep, Edgar sneaks them out the mansion and drives out into the countryside to get rid of them. His plan is foiled by two dogs, Napoleon and Lafayette, who reside on a nearby farm, when they spot the butler and begin their pastime of chasing. Desperate to escape alive, Edgar leaves his umbrella, bowler hat, shoes, and sidecar behind at the farm. He also loses the basket holding the kittens by the riverside, but does not notice the loss until he returns to the mansion.
The next morning, everyone in the mansion is distraught at the cats' disappearance. Edgar is the only resident of the mansion feeling pleased, much to the surprise of Roquefort and Frou-Frou. Unaware that Frou-Frou's an intelligent horse, Edgar enters the stable, and in his overconfidence, reveals his wrongdoings through the newspaper detailing the kidnapping, much to Frou-Frou and Roquefort’s disgust, while Edgar gloats over the news. His happiness is cut short when he suddenly remembers that he left his hat, umbrella, motorcycle sidecar, and the cats' basket back at the countryside, and they would, in fact, implicate him in the crime, and rushes to reclaim them before the police obtain them. That night, after another fight with Napoleon and Lafayette, who had made beds and other things out of the stuff, Edgar escapes with his things with the use of a fishing rod, thereby eliminating all evidence of his crimes.
Edgar is once again feeling pleased with himself and celebrates with a bottle of red wine until the cats return home with help from an alley cat, Thomas O'Malley. Shocked but determined, Edgar traps them again, tying them up in a sack. After pretending to sympathize with Madame, he throws the cats in a trunk and plans to send them to Timbuktu, Mali to ensure they will never return. Thomas and his alley cat friends intervene and engage Edgar in a brutal battle which culminates in Edgar ending up being hit on the head with a falling bail of hay, tied down with Frou-Frou's horse collar, gagged with a bucket over his head, and knocked and locked in the trunk himself and getting sent to Timbuktu. As the delivery men load the trunk into the van, Edgar is seemingly unable to call for help as he is still gagged or dazed from the scuffle with the animals. Madame presumably never discovers Edgar's treachery, assuming that he simply left on his own accord, and excludes him from her will.
A walkaround version of Edgar debuted in 2018 at Disneyland Paris as part of the "Disney Loves Jazz" event, with his meet and greet station featuring the cat basket and the trunk to Timbuktu.
- Other than singing "Rock-a-Bye, Kitties" while drugging the cats' milk with Madame's sleeping pills, Edgar is one of the few Disney villains that does not have his/her own song.
- Edgar being the antagonist is a reference to the well-known phrase in mystery novels: "The Butler Did It!" This is referenced when Roquefort tells O'Malley that Duchess and the kittens were in trouble, and that the "butler did it."
- It is unknown if Edgar managed to make it back to the mansion before Madame woke up and found the cats missing. If he didn't, he might have lied to her, telling her that the reason why he wasn't there when she woke up was because he couldn't sleep and decided to go out on his motorcycle, which she foolishly believed and didn't suspect him of having to do with the cats' disappearance. But it is likely that he did manage to get back before she woke up, and that's why she never suspected him of anything.
- Of course, in another storybook adaptation, Edgar did lie to Madame about why the cats were missing, except by saying that they went for a walk.
- Originally, Edgar was going to be accompanied by a scheming maid named Elvira, who was supposed to be his partner-in-crime.
- Despite being one of Disney's more comic relief villains, Edgar's fate would have been more or less ambiguous and brutal in real life. The fact that the trunk had no air holes nor food nor water may imply that the cats would starve/suffocate to death inside the trunk, and therefore, the same could happen to Edgar, as he was the one who ended up inside it in the end.
- Originally, Edgar was actually going to succeed in defeating Thomas O'Malley and his alley cats and take the trunk away only to run into some policemen (contacted by Roquefort after seeing him plot to send the cats away), and get arrested on the spot for pet-nabbing.
- While fantasizing about claiming Madame Adelaide's fortune, dollar signs appear in his eyes and float around his head, and he even says "All of them dollars," while the dollar has never been the currency of France (at the time it was the CFP franc, better known as the French Franc, and is currently the Euro). A possible explanation is that he would plan to live in America after inheriting the fortune and thus turn the Francs into dollars, or, conversely, that most of Madame's savings are in dollars in American banks.
- Edgar is credited as "Butler" in the credits.
- In some books based on the movie, Edgar gets fired instead of being shipped off to Timbuktu.
- In a German book adaption, it is revealed that the crate arrived in Equatorial Africa (it is not specified whether it is Equatorial Africa itself or French Equatorial Africa) where Edgar was arrested for illegal immigration.
- In the film, Edgar does not mention any of the kittens by their names, though he does once address Duchess by her name.