The film version of Cats was released in 1998. Directed by David Mallet, it starred original London cast member Elaine Paige as Grizabella, Sir John Mills as Gus The Theatre Cat, original Broadway cast member Ken Page as Old Deuteronomy and Michael Gruber as Munkustrap.
As the Jellicle Cats emerge into the junkyard, each cat introduces themselves and their unique qualities: from the magical Mr Mistoffelees to the mysterious Macavity; the glamorous but spurned Grizabella and the Old Gumbie Cat, Jennyanydots – she who sits upon the stair or on the steps or on the mat: She sits and sits and sits and sits – and that’s what makes a Gumbie Cat!
Led by the wise Old Deuteronomy – a Cat who has lived many lives in succession – the Cats prepare for the Jellice Ball, and for the moment when Old Deuteronomy will choose which of them will make the Journey to the Heaviside Layer.
The film was shot in London’s Adelphi Theatre and the accompanying soundtrack was completely re-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 – whose collection of poetry, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning musical.