Cats (1951 film)
|Directed by||Rikard Forslund|
|Screenplay by||Rikard Forslund|
|Story by||Rikard Forslund|
|Based on||Cats, by H.K. Loveless|
|Produced by||Casper Ulf|
|Music by||Pia Lundin|
|Distributed by||Forslund & Ulf Corp.|
Upon its release, Cats became a critical moment in the nascent Cryrian film industry. At the time, it was by far the longest production from the industry at over three hours, and it was also the first to be shot in full color. Forslund utilized remarkably complex and advanced special effects for the time, particularly in showing Loveless' more fantastical scenes. However, the film was controversial even during the time of its release for its virulent anti-Nekomimi and anti-feline speciesm.
Cats began as a joint project between Rikard Forslund and his lifelong roommate Casper Ulf. Both had previously worked for the Ministry for Tomorrow's film division before joining the small but vibrant Cryrian film industry that had begun to develop throughout the 1940s as the nation's economy generally began to recover from decades of postwar malaise. Both men had gained extensive experience in creating propaganda films, and leveraged their skills and connections for their new venture. While the pair produced several lesser known works, Cats would be the first and only real success to emerge from Forslund & Ulf Corp., which disbanded in 1957 after Ulf perished in the Tuigar Arson and Forslund committed suicide shortly after.
The film was loosely based on a 1905 horror novel written by H.K. Loveless, which drew extensively from bastardized Vhydhaszi myths and the author's own apparent fears of a world overrun by Packilvanian felines who would "Utilize every manner of foul occultry and deception to swarm the Urth in a neverending tide of fur and degeneracy." While Loveless is well known as the founder of the Cryrian Thalassic Horror genre, this novel is generally held as an example of his extreme speciest views. Though initially obscure, it gained fame during the Great War when it was used for anti-Packilvanian propaganda purposes by the Cryrian government.
The novel fell out of popular consciousness soon afterwards, particularly as its extremely graphic descriptions of blood rituals and cannibalism were deemed unsuitable by the National Library system. It was not until 1947 that Rikard Forslund reportedly found a copy at a local bookstore and sought permission from Loveless' estate to adapt the work. Forslund reportedly agreed to remain faithful to Loveless' original story, but at Ulf's advice he increasingly strayed from the work due to a belief that the nekomimi should be portrayed "In a more comedic light." The final screenplay was, like the novel, centered around the adventures of a Great War soldier attempting to foil a feline-blood ritual in the Cryrian city of Aisis. However, the nekomimi characters are generally portrayed as inept and bumbling, and are played by human actors in cat-ears. The plot reveals that they are instead being manipulated and controlled by a foreign cabal of felines, who are implied to be Packilvanian agents seeking to undermine the country and summon the Vhydhaszi God-in-Flesh to end the war.
(Absolutely not - CryrianFilmBoi12345)
Cats released in 1951 and proved to be surprisingly successful, as few audience members were aware of Loveless' book and many came to see the special effects utilized to portray the God-in-Flesh at the film's climax. The actual plot of the film was largely disregarded and dismissed by critics as secondary to the visual spectacle, and its efforts at comedy described as "listless." Several musical numbers performed by the nekomimi characters have been referred to as "disruptive to what little plot there is" and in one case "Practically pornographic."
Cats very quickly garnered controversy for being extraordinarily speciest even by the standards of Cryrians in the 1950s. The country's nekomimi population is portrayed as a fifth column of questionable sapience that is vulnerable to foreign manipulation. The film explicitly advocates for strong government controls over the nonhuman population and an expansion of forced sterilization procedures to ensure that the human population of Urth is not "replaced."
The film remains the most successful to come out of the otherwise small Cryrian film industry, which has frequently expressed its frustration at being defined by the archaic and virulent piece even in the 21st century. At a conference in 2021, film director Alice Palmstruch reportedly commented that she "Wished that damn thing had gone straight to the ashcan next to Casper [expletive] Ulf." Most theaters and streaming services in Cryria refuse to offer the film today, and the film industry's modern efforts to sever ties between itself and the production have led to criticism of historical whitewashing and demands that the industry take responsibility for its historical role in supporting speciest ideologies in the Isles.