A cat named Francis moves with his owner to a new neighborhood, and no sooner has he set paw into his new home than he is greeted by the slain body of another cat. Local street cat Bluebeard is convinced that this, and the other three recent killings, must have been committed by a "can-opener", which is cat slang for a human.
Francis disagrees, and as he finds out more about the victims, he is sure that not only is the murderer a cat, but that the killings are all connected by one common factor - each of the victims was sexually aroused at the time of death. He is aided in his investigations by fierce, gluttonous Bluebeard, blind but wise Felicity, and the elderly, technology-savvy cat Pascal. His sleep is haunted by terrifying and vivid nightmares, which offer insight into the mind of the murderer.
Francis soon runs afoul of the local bully Kong and the masochist Claudandus Sect and he discovers that his new home was once the site of a laboratory owned by Doctor Preterius. Preterius, in his search to create a bonding glue that would heal any flesh wound, performed painful and deadly experiments on countless cats, including the legendary Claudandus. This particular cat was the first upon which the bonding glue worked, something Preterius attributed to superior genetics. He continued routine vivisection on Claudandus, and as his experiments continued to fall short of expectations, the doctor descended into alcoholic madness. One day, the long-suffering Claudandus attacked Preterius, tearing open his throat.
After Preterius's death, the abandoned lab became a meeting site for the Claudandus Sect, who believe that Claudandus was imbued with powers that could help the cat species evolve into something greater. Some believe that Claudandus has ascended to another life, and that by sacrificing themselves through painful rituals, they may attain perfection.
It is eventually revealed that Claudandus lives on, having taken the new identity of Pascal, Francis' mentor. Old and embittered, Claudandus now seeks revenge against humanity, citing them as the only truly evil animal. Through selective breeding, he aims to give rise to a 'new breed' of feline - one perfect enough to overtake the humans. Using his owner's computer to keep a listing of every cat in the city, Claudandus is systematically killing the cats he deems unworthy of breeding. He calls his database and his plan simply, "Felidae".
When Francis confronts him, Claudandus reveals that he is terminally ill with a form of stomach cancer. Having been impressed by Francis' intelligence, he hopes that the younger cat will continue the Felidae project after he dies. Appalled by all the suffering Claudandus has caused in the name of "racial purity", Francis refuses and tries to delete Felidae. Enraged, Claudandus attacks him and accidentally destroys the computer, sparking an electrical fire. The two cats fight, and Francis eventually disembowels Claudandus, who remarks as he dies that he, too, was once as pure as Francis.
Francis escapes the burning building, and all remaining traces of Claudandus and the Felidae project are destroyed. Looking over the remains of Claudandus's home, he muses that there must be optimism for a brighter future for both humans and felidae alike.
|Francis||Ulrich Tukur||Forgacs Peter||Patrick Poivey|
|Bluebeard (Blaubart)||Mario Adorf||Karpati Tibor||Unknown|
|Jesaja||Helge Schnieder||Csuja Imre||Jacques Ciron|
|Kong||Wolfgang Hess||Hanko Atilla||Benoît Allemane|
|Preterius||Gerhard Garbers||Balazsi Gyula||Pascal Renwick|
|Felicity (Felicitas)||Mona Seefried||Kiss Erika||Unknown|
|Joker||Ulrich Wildgruber||Orosz Itsvan||Unknown|
|Gus (Gustav)||Manfred Steffen||Bata Janos||Patrick Borg|
|Archie||Uwe Ochsenknecht||Palfai Peter||Unknown|
|Mendel||Christian Schneller||Szelyes Imre||Thierry Murzeau|
|Herman #1||Tobias Lelle||Forgacs Peter||Unknown|
|Herman #2||Frank Roth||Zsigmond Tamara||Unknown|
|Pepeline||Alexandra Ludwig-Hahn||Zsigmond Tamara||Unknown|
|Claudandus||Klaus Maria Brandauer||Szelyes Imre||Bernard Alane|
The film was released with an English dub only in Australia and North America in United States for VHS, as well as on a German DVD.
In January 2019, one Behind the Voice Actors user (Millicent) pinpointed the English cast to London.
- Francis: Jeff Harding
- Gustav, Gregor Mendel: Marc Smith
- Bluebeard: Graham Parker
- Kong: Bob Sessions
- Joker: William Roberts
- Felicity: Tamsin Hollo
- Pascal: Peter Marinker
- Preterius: Don Fellows
- Isaiah: Ian Tyler
- Nhozemphtekh: Liza Ross
Differences from the BookEdit
The film follows the story of the original novel very closely. However, there are some differences between the film and novel:
- Longer scenes and monologues are shortened in the film.
- The character of Bluebeard is present far more often in the film than he is in the novel. This allows Francis to voice his thoughts aloud as he examines crime scenes and figures out the mystery. The examples of this include the following:
- In the film Francis and Bluebeard read the book of the ancient Felidae, but in the novel only Francis reads it.
- In the film Bluebeard is with Francis when they meet the 'Guardian of the Dead', but in the novel Francis is the only one who talks to him.
- In the film Bluebeard is present during Francis' final battle with Claudandus where he rescues Bluebeard when he is attacked by Claudandus. But in the novel just Francis faces Claudandus in the final battle.
- Bluebeard is given extra lines and moments in the film, which are often a display of black comedy. It also justifies his increased screen time.
- One of Francis's nightmares about Deep Purple slaughtering kittens from the novel is missing in the film.
- In the book Francis asks the Guardian of the Dead to the meeting, but in the film he follows him to the tunnels instead.
- In the novel, Francis discovers the journal of Doctor Pretorius. In the film, this becomes a video diary.
- In the book Francis sees Felicity's owner grieving her death, but in the film her owner doesn't appear.
- The novel has an epilogue which ties up all of the loose ends of the plot. The film meanwhile doesn’t tie up all the loose ends and simply ends on a note of optimism.
Felidae was released theatrically in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary, Australia and France. It was released on PAL DVD region 2 with Dolby 5.1 and 2.0 surround sound for the original German audio and Dolby 2.0 for the English audio dub in Dolby 2.0. There are no subtitles. Extras (in German only) include DVD commentary, trailers and a "Making Of".
The rare English version was originally intended to be released in English-speaking countries around 1995 to 1997, but was postponed. Fortunately the version saw a limited release in Australia and New Zealand by RocVale Film Pty. Ltd. The English audio can only be found on the original German & French DVD releases. A YouTube user named "elementroar" uploaded the English dub and divided it to 8 parts.