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'An American Tail': Go West, young mouse


Parents looking for something suitable for small children now have two feature-length animated cartoons films that meet the requirement.

One is "Beauty and the Beast." The other is "An American Tail: Fievel Goes West."

There is no real contest between the two. "Beauty and the Beast" is the decided winner by a mile or two, but "Fievel" has its charms.

"Fievel" is a sequel to the 1986 "An American Tail," in which the Mousekewitz family, immigrants from Russia, settled on the East Coast. Fievel was separated from his family in the first film, one that is superior to the second, but again, the second is not without quality.

In the sequel, Fievel leaves home for a new life in Green River, a frontier town where all newcomers are promised employment.

The creatures making this offer are bad cats. What all the newcomers don't know is that the bad guys intend to use them as cheap labor, then trap them and serve them up as mouse burgers.

Fievel, naturally, saves the day, with the help of a cat called Tiger, and a dog sheriff whose voice is supplied by James Stewart. Dom De Luise speaks for Tiger, and he and Stewart, or the characters for whom the speak, almost take the film away from Fievel, spoken for by Phillip Glasser. Amy Irving, former wife of the film's producer, Steven Spielberg, speaks for Miss Kitty, Tiger's love. John Cleese speaks for Cat R. Waul, the bad cat who hopes to make mouse meat of Fievel and his family.

"An American Tail" is the movie that gave us "Somewhere Out There," an enduring tune. It gets a reprise in the new film, not enough but some. There are, however, three new songs, written by James Horner and Will Jennings, the pair who did the score for the first film. None matches "Somewhere," but all three are pleasant enough.

"An American Tail: Fievel Goes West"

** Fievel, the immigrant mouse, leaves the east for adventure in the west.

VOICES: John Cleese, Dom DeLuise, Phillip Glasser, Amy Irving, Jon Lovitz, Cathy Cavadini, Nehemiah Persoff, Erick Yohn, James Stewart

DIRECTORS: Phil Nibbelink, Simon Wells


RUNNING TIME: 77 minutes.

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