The film was directed by David Mallet and shot at the Adelphi Theatre in London in 1997. The soundtrack for the film was recorded with a seventy-piece orchestra to create a full digital sound. In the film, the license plate on the car that can be seen at the back of the stage reads “TSE 1″ for T S Eliot.
The Cats film was essentially a condensed production of the contemporary London version of the show, with elements such as the re-written version of "Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer", and where there was a discrepancy between the London and Broadway versions, the London version was used. However to retain an international flavour to the film, the Broadway names for "Plato" (Admetus), "Tumblebrutus" (Bill Bailey) and "Pouncival" (Carbucketty) were used. For more details on the differences between the film and the musical, see here.
The film was initially released on VHS and DVD in 1998 by PolyGram Video/Universal Pictures. It has also been broadcast on television by PBS, BBC, Ovation TV, and Sky UK, among others. A Blu-ray "Ultimate Edition" was released in 2013 that included additional behind-the-scenes footage.
Andrew Lloyd Webber had been considering making a film of the musical since at least the early 1990s. Originally the plan was to make an Animated Film with Amblimation studios, however when plans to animate the show fell through, the live action staged film was made instead.
The music and vocals were pre-recorded first, and the film was then shot over a course of 18 days, from August to September 1997. The cast initially ran through the musical three times to film the group shots, then the rest of the time involved shooting individual numbers to film close-ups. Filming of the "Gus: The Theatre Cat" section ran over-time, which resulted in "Growltiger's Last Stand" being cut from the final film, as there wasn't time to film the complex dream sequence.
Costumes and Make Up
The film features the costume designs used in the London production, which are notably different from their Broadway counterparts. The makeup designs were softened, with the strongest lines removed, as stage makeup would be over-powering in closeup.
The cast of the film mostly consisted of former and contemporary Broadway and West End Cats actors reprising their roles for the film, including original London cast members Elaine Paige, Susan Jane Tanner, and Femi Taylor, as well as original Broadway cast member Ken Page.
Several actors in the recording were credited as being dubbed; this was done for a variety of reasons.
Jemima's voice was dubbed by young opera singer Helen Massey, as the production team were afraid Veerle Casteleyn would have a noticeable Flemish accent. Similarly, Geoffrey Garratt as Skimbleshanks was dubbed over by David Arniel in order to give the character a particular Scottish accent.
Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer are also credited as being dubbed; however, those familiar with Drew Varley and Jo Gibb and/or Paul Baker and Vikki Coote (who are credited with the dubbed voices), will recognise that the voices in the recording are indeed Drew Varley and Jo Gibb themselves. One possible explanation for this is that dubbed vocals were recorded, but ultimately discarded, or possibly the *giggle* "shush" at the beginning of the number was kept from the dubbing.
|Sally Bentley||David Combes|
|Mary Carewe||Robert Fardell|
|Mark Frederick||Michael Dore|
|Jacqueline Barron||Annie Skates|
|Directed by||David Mallet|
|Writing Credits||T.S. Eliot (book)|
|Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|Music by||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|Cinematography by||Nicholas D. Knowland|
|Film Editing by||David Gardener|
|Production Design by||John Napier|
|Art Direction by||Peter Bingermann|
|First Assistant Director||Malcolm Viles|
|Second Assistant Director||Sarah Trickett|
|Third Assistant Director||Ed Van Der Ven|
|Orchestrator||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|Music Copier||Mark Graham|
|Conductor/Musical Director||Simon Lee|
|Vocal Contractor||Annie Skates|
|Music Co-Producer||Nigel Wright|
|Orchestral Manager||Sylvia Addison|
|Rehearsal Pianist||Trevor York|
|Scenic Artist||Niki Bayard|
|Stand-by Construction||Roger Chopping|
|Property Marker||Gareth Jones|
|Scenic Painter||David Mollin|
|Art Dept. Coordinator||Jake Trickett|
|Assistant Art Director||Lisa Vandy|
|Stage Construction||Alan Walker|
|Makeup Designer||Karen Dawson|
|Makeup Artists||Joantha Dunn|
|Wig Designer||Jennifer Dean|
|Wig Assistant||Maria Alush|
|Rita M. Smith|
|Costume and Wardrobe Department|
|Costume Supervisor||Wendy Griffiths|
|Wardrobe Supervisor||Lesley Lightfoot|
|Dresser||Sarah Jane Hart|
|Spencer Kitchen (For Elaine Page)|
|Original Stage Producer||Cameron Mackintosh|
|Original Stage Director||Trevor Nunn|
|Assistant Choreographer||Christine Cartwright|
|Dance Captain||Beth Robson|
|Assistant to the Director||Judy Chesterman|
|Production Coordinator||Ananda Coulier|
|Production Associate||Rebecca Ferrand|
|Stage Manager||David Ffitch|
|Assistant Stage Manager||Beanie Williams|
|Book Caller||Peter Evelyn|
|Henry Operator||Tony Lawrence|
- Although the soundtrack for the film was never released, the songs "The Jellicle Ball" and "Gus: The Theatre Cat" were released in the 2001 album Andrew Lloyd Webber: Now & Forever.