Monday, April 4, 2016

C is for Cat City

Okay, so technically I already wrote about Cat City two years ago, but it is such a cult classic I couldn't exactly leave it out. 

In 80 MMU (After Mickey Mouse), the evil and corrupt cat Syndicate is aiming to exterminate all mice. The last hope of Intermouse is to bring back legendary Agent Grabovsky from retirement, to help them deliver the blueprints of a super secret anti-cat weapon before the villainous Mr. Teufel gets his claws on them...
Premiered in 1986, Cat City (titled Macskafogó, Cat Trap, in Hungarian) is by far the most legendary of all our cult classic animated movies. It was our entry for Best Foreign Language film at the Oscars in 1987, but it didn't get the nomination.

The movie is a parody of Hollywood spy-action films - and about half a dozen other genres, including westerns and Star Wars, with all their conventions. It actually presents itself as an "American" movie, with all the signs written in English, and most characters having foreign names. It features evil businessman Mr. Fritz Teufel (added pun that Teufel means "devil" in German and sounds like "sour cream" in Hungarian), four rat gangsters, several musical numbers, cat pirates, mariachi vampire bats, a pretty Japanese lab assistant, and Lazy Dick (actual name), the one-man marching band of Intermouse. The movie satirizes a lot of the racial stereotypes Hollywood was into at the time (Asian geisha love interest, gun-happy Mexicans, and a black furred cat gangster who, while called "Schwartz" in the original dubs, somehow became "Blackie" in the American version...) (eek). It also has a hilarious, over-the-top shootout scene at the end, to crown the "Hollywood" experience.

Cat City, being a classic, is much quoted in Hungarian pop culture. One of the most well-known parts is Mr. Teufel's meeting with his battered and bandaged assistant (whom he himself had roughed up earlier as punishment for a minor mistake):

"What happened to you, Safranek?"
"Accident, sir. I was shaving."
"But your hand, Safranek?"
"... it was holding the razor."
"Goodbye Safranek. Give my regards to your wife."
"Thank you, sir. She's been living with you for a year."

Another much quoted phrase comes from the Four Gangsters, two male and two female rats that work as henchmen for the cat Syndicate (SyndiCat? Heh.). Every time they mess something up, one of them reminds the others they need to get their sh*t together, otherwise...

"We can go back to the ballet to jump around."

That's right, the henchmen are all ex-ballet dancers.

Cat City, since it became an international thing, does have English dubs (and fairly decent ones too, although they don't quite live up to the original voices). You can find the Hungarian version here, in case you are interested. There is an English dubbed version out there too, if you can rustle up the DVD on Ebay or something.

In the meantime, here is the Four Gangsters jazz number for your viewing pleasure, performed live by the Cotton Club Singers. The song in the movie is the henchmen's promotional video to sell their mouse-killing services.


  1. That sounds utterly whacked and totally brilliant :) Ex-ballet dancers - lol...
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

  2. ... and how would this fit: The Catton Club Singers_? A tripped over mis-spelling.

    __Just to note: my paternal grandmother entered this country, when she was 3, during the First World War. The family name is Magyar... mis-pronounced in Torrington Ct. as -Major-. I relate closely to those genes, but I do not speak, nor do I write in Hungarian. Good wishes_!

  3. This looks like it would be very entertaining!

  4. Sounds really interesting! Great post.
    Thank you for visiting my blog as well!

  5. this does look ott. i snickered at the mickey mouse bit.

    the movie was pulled for copy right when i just clicked on the link to it.

  6. That was lots of fun and your Puli dog is adorable! ☺

  7. Now that "Mr. Teufel" is something. But you know? it does look familiar, can't remember though if I've seen it or not.

  8. We have a lot of parodies here in America, too. At one time they were cute but now they're mostly low-budget junk!

  9. That one cat looks quite sinister. with his eye patch o.O

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

  10. Common knowledge? Please, Safranek, come closer to me! ;)