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Mr. Grasping is the leader of the robber baron Factory Owners; which consist of himself and his colleagues, Mr. Toplofty and Mr. O'Bloat. He first appears when he confronts Tony Toponi for being late to work and nearly fires him, but is convinced by Mr. Mousekewitz to let him keep his job. When he is questioned by O'Bloat, another of the factory owners, why he let Tony keep his job, he explains that it is because "fear is a powerful motivator." He is then convinced by the third factory owner named Toplofty to keep an eye of Mr. Mousekewitz, as he considered him to be a “troublemaker”.
Upon finding out about the Indians, Grasping tells the citizens that the Indians want to attack, stirring them up into an angry mob. After a long rampage to find the Indians, Dr. Dithering is accused of helping the Indians and brought to the butcher shop for his punishment. Before Dr. Dithering is executed, he is rescued by the friendly cat, Tiger, before Mr. Mousekewitz tells all the mice the truth that the Indians mean no harm and that the factory owners are the real enemy. With every mouse in Manhattan now against them, the factory owners retreat, but not before Mr. Grasping, refusing to admit defeat, orders Chief McBrusque to turn the Indian home into a burial ground and kill anyone in his way.
After McBrusque is stopped, along with Scuttlebutt, the factory owners are forced to give in to the citizen's demands after Mr. Mousekewitz formed a worker's union with them, otherwise, they will go broke. However, Mr. Grasping is unperturbed by this, as he assures Toplofty and O'Bloat that they will soon regain control by claiming that "there are lots of ways to skin a cat," only to be scared off by Tiger.
Mr. Grasping has light brown fur, gray hair, and white eyebrows. He wears a black top hat with a purple band on his head. His suit is purple, and he has a yellow tie. He is tall and skinny, and walks with a cane.
Mr. Grasping is a scheming, pompous, loathsome and acquisitive individual. He is shown to be cruel, greedy, ruthless, manipulative and opprobrious to his workers. Like Toplofty and O'Bloat, Mr. Grasping doesn't care about Indians and he tells their workers a fib about the Indians being enemies because he assumed that they would go after the factory.
Mr. Grasping also shows that he has little tolerance for his employees doing anything that could cost him money. When Tony arrived late for example, Grasping was about to fire him alongside his co-workers; depraving him of his pay even after Mr. Mousekewitz played into his ego by saying that Tony would learn how to fear him if he gave him another chance. Later, when the workers become outraged by having to triple their work for the same pay, Grasping ordered McBrusque to attack one of them. This shows that he is greedy enough to attack people/ ruin other people's lives even for minor offenses. Furthermore, while he is polite to his fellow factory owners, he does not care for them beyond what's expected of a professional.
Even after his defeat, Grasping learned nothing as he planned on getting back at his workers for forming a union and stopping him from wiping out the Indians. Also, he shows no compassion for his co-workers beyond what you would expect from a professional. Overall, Mr. Grasping is a horrible being who only cares about money. Even if he did feel as if the Indians were a real threat, his cruel and opprobrious nature makes him untrustworthy at best; purely evil at worst.
Mr. Grasping and his two colleagues are the only major antagonists in the American Tail film series who have no interaction with Fievel Mousekewitz, the main protagonist of the franchise. They are more the arch-enemies of Fievel's father and only their henchmen (Chief McBrusque and Scuttlebutt) have met and fought Fievel. That said, capturing Fievel was one of their goals.
Mr. Grasping is the overall main antagonist of the film as he is the one who ordered McBrusque to attack the Indian mice in the climax and is responsible for causing a riot to find and attack Cholena. Thus, he had bigger plans than any other antagonist in the third film. Furthermore, he is also the leader of the factory owners.
Alongside the other villains in the third movie, Mr. Grasping is the only major antagonist who is a rodent in the series, as opposed to Warren T. Rat and Cat R. Waul.
Grasping is one of the least popular villains in the American Tail film series, as many viewed him as a racist character and is not as memorable as the other villains are in the series. Despite this, Ron Perlman is praised for his performance as Grasping.
If An American Tail would have continued with more sequels, there is a chance that Mr. Grasping and his colleagues could reappear and attempt to regain control.
In the fourth sequel An American Tail: Mystery of the Night Monster, Mr. Grasping and his colleagues did not appear physically in the movie to make way for the next villain. However, it is possible that they were mentioned at the beginning of the movie, where Papa tells the story of the rats that own a clothing factory and makes the mice that work there very hard to the fact that they had no food, no air, no water, no nothing. Nellie Brie went there undercover and exposes the entire conflict in the newspaper and the factory owners were sent to jail. It is a possible hint that Mr. Grasping and his colleagues attempted to regain control of the mice and were finally sent to jail. The only thing that could disprove of this would be that they owned a cheese factory, not a clothing one.
Mr. Grasping is one of the evilest characters in the American Tail film series (alongside his colleagues, Chief McBrusque and Warren T. Rat). This is due to the fact that he is viewed as a racist and greedy monster with no redeemable qualities. His and his co-owner's attempted genocide by proxy is also the most heinous act ever committed by a villain in the series discounting McBrusque carrying it out.
Grasping and his colleagues are one of the only villains in the American Tail film series to sing, the others are Madame Mousey, Twitch, the Outlaw Cats and the Cactus Cat Gang.