Cat City

Ternovszky Bela

Hungary, 1986

TEACHER GUIDE

GENRES

Cartoon, animation, parody, sci-fi

ISSUES

Parody of film genres, gangsters, adventures, crime

THE FILM

Meet the coolest Cats in the criminal underworld in this edgy and funny satire on modern life. Times are tough for the mice living in Cat City. But they have a plan: a scientist has created a powerful weapon to shrink cats down to mice-sized. If the plan works, Cat City will become Mouseville. Cat City is an outdated James Bond spoof supposedly involving cats and mice, but the characters are just humans with animal heads and tails. Although the animation is a bit more polished, this 95-minute feature recalls the worst kidvid shows of the ‘70s and ‘80s. One pointless scene follows another as the characters natter in amateurish voices, mistimed gags fall flat, and the inane plot involving plans for the ultimate anticat weapon stumbles to its conclusion. Hispanic viewers will understandably take offense at the stereotypical depiction of the Mexican vampire bats. The jacket calls Cat City the “animated sensation that rocked critics and censors around the world.” But except for a few brief shots of a rat in pasties and a G-string, and the possible double-entendre of the inept musical number “Pussy Talk,” sung by a cat in baby-doll pajamas, the film would have a hard time qualifying for a PG rating. If Cat City were genuinely shocking, it’d be more fun. The film was made by the talented artists at the Pannonia Studio in Budapest in 1987.

Distribution in the USA
In United States and Canada the movie was distributed on VHS by Sefel Pictures in 1987 under the name Cat City. The names of almost all characters were changed to avoid any associations with countries of Socialist bloc. The songs were
recorded also in different arrangement, and the song of “Four Gangsters” (which was written to Jimmy Giuffre’s Four Brothers melody) was replaced completely.
Distribution in the USSR
In the Soviet Union this cartoon enjoyed a big success in the box office in 1988 and got a truly cult status among kids after being shown multiple times on TV, dubbed in Russian by Soyuzmultfilm studio. The Russian title is “Ловушка для кошек (Lovushka dlia koshek)” (literally: Cat Trap). In spite of the Russian version being completely dubbed, the songs were left in their original Hungarian version with brief voiceover translations of the first few lines.

ACTIVITIES

GENERAL GUIDE

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