SCRIPT ON REQUEST
THE FLORENTINE CATS
Logline and Treatment
Logline: Set in Renaissance Florence, the “cat detective” Tinzi and his friends must search to discover who is terrorizing the town as the mysterious … CAT BURGLAR!
Treatment: It is the height of the Renaissance in Florence, a city at the center of a renewed cultural rebirth with its beautiful buildings, bustling squares, stunning artwork and luxurious villas. The town is where advancements in the arts and sciences are not only seen in mankind, but also with The Florentine Cats!
In Renaissance Florence, Tinzi is a red striped cat who is an ideal representative of the period with a curiosity that surpasses that of his fellow cats. As a kitten, he receives the Florentine lily (fleur de lis) collar from his family, a symbol of Florence and that he is proudly a Florentine Cat.
One evening as a kitten, Tinzi’s curiosity gets the best of him at the Duomo Cathedral. After playfully swinging on the tower bell, Tinzi finds a secret passage, stumbling upon a magical object whose power he learns can either save Florence … or curse it. Terrified by the discovery, the startled kitten searches for a way out of the room and finally escapes.[read more]
It cuts to Tinzi as an adult cat, who now uses his abilities to solve mysteries as a cat detective in Florence. He leads the investigative trio known as the “Investigatti.” The other Investigatti are the savvy and independent feline Isabella de Medici, of the de Medici family, the ideal cat companion for Tinzi, and Tinzi’s comical and loyal best friend Ringo, who just happens to be a dog. Through their deductive abilities, they are able to solve mysteries that befuddle even the cat police in Florence.
At the Palazzo Vecchio, the palatial town hall in Florence, the ruler among the cats and Isabella’s uncle, Furenzo de Medici, presides over a ceremony. The event begins with song and dance, and honors distinguished cats in Renaissance Florence like Catileo, an astronomer who wins for the sciences, and Michelangelino, an artist who wins for the arts.
Other notables are there for the gala, including: Catanova, the town lothario; Caterina, the most spoiled cat in town; Mamma Gatta, a seamstress with rambunctious kitties; Erasmus and Erasma, the twin town historians; Gatturo, Furenzo’s chief diplomat; General Severo, the leader of the Florentine Cat army; Purrfidia, the merchant of the town square; Pompeo, Furenzo’s chief banking rival; and even Topito … the king of the mice! They mingle at the gala with episodes such as Catanova flirting with Isabella in front of a jealous Tinzi, Ringo devouring the scrumptious plates of food the finicky Caterina turns away, and Furenzo listening to Topito’s grandiose plans for a Florence cheese park.
As the ceremony winds down and most of the cats in attendance have left, the lights flicker out and the venue goes dark. Furenzo wonders what is going on. SWOOSH … a cat in a mask, bodysuit and cape appears, makes dazzling acrobatic moves and robs Furenzo of his collar. This is the “Cat Burglar”! The flashy thief steals from Furenzo a priceless collar made by the famed artist Leonardo da Vinci. While Isabella tends to the stricken Furenzo, Tinzi chases after the Cat Burglar, ripping a piece of the cape in hot pursuit.
Tinzi pursues the Cat Burglar through the misty streets of Florence aided by the alley cat Bartolomeow, but the thief deftly escapes into the night. Know-it-all police chief Marcello and his tough female deputy Mimma investigate the crime scene, but are soon stumped. Tinzi, Isabella, and Ringo learn more about the origins of the unique Da Vinci collars from Erasmus and Erasma, the twin historians who sit atop stacks of books and try to out-do one another with their knowledge. Only three Da Vinci collars were made after quashing a rebellious conspiracy, and given to Furenzo, General Severo, and Codamo, Isabella’s father, for saving the city. Tinzi is reluctant to take on the case and prefers to let the police handle it, as something about the theft rattles him deep in his soul. Only when Furenzo and Isabella plead to him to find the missing collar does he finally consent.
With the torn piece of the cape, the “Investigatti” trio launches their investigation at the crowded casa of the town seamstress, Mamma Gatta. As her energetic kittens bounce all around her small house, she tells them the cape is made of Venetian silk. From this, Tinzi reasons that the Cat Burglar is an aristocrat and likely attended the gala as a guest.
The Investigatti query the prime suspects who were at the ceremony. They begin with the spoiled fashionista Caterina, who lives in a grand palace where she pirouettes around the room showing off her luxury goods. Though the Medici collar is irreplaceable and she has tried to buy Furenzo’s collar in the past, she says she has a thousand other jeweled collars so why would she ever steal one?
The Investigatti go to Catanova’s dwelling only to discover there is a masked and caped cat being chased through town. Could this be the Cat Burglar? No, the masked cat turns out to be … Catanova! An athletic paramour originally from Venice, Catanova calls Isabella “meow amour” and explains he is no thief, as his capes, hats and masks help keep him concealed from angry cats. Upon leaving, Tinzi learns Isabella and Catanova have a history. Although she was never interested in Catanova and Furenzo intervened to end it, Tinzi gets jealous.
Gatturo is a diplomat for Furenzo, a collector of luxury goods in his travels and the biggest collector of catnip in town, which causes a sneezing fit in Ringo. After the Investigatti question Gatturo about his large wardrobe collection, he quickly holds up a key and unlocks a leather case that shows all his purchases and receipts. When they discover he banks with Pompeo, Gatturo explains he keeps a business account with Furenzo and a personal account with Pompeo, because he is “a diplomat, after all.”
They visit the palatial home of Pompeo, Furenzo’s chief banking rival, who swears he would never steal his foe’s precious collar. Tinzi notices a stack of “IOUs” with Catanova’s signature and lion stamp on his desk, but Pompeo laughs that Catanova’s rich ladies always cover his debts. Michelangelino, for years supported by Furenzo, is also there working on a ceiling mural for Pompeo that features the banking cat rising from the sea ala Botticelli’s Venus. As they leave, Pompeo hands them an invite to an upcoming art show he is hosting.
The scene shifts to General Severo, who prepares for bed in his house adjacent to the Uffizi. Suddenly there is another SWOOSH … the Cat Burglar swings on the curtain and swipes both the General’s Da Vinci collar and a gold medal off his bedside table. The General is no match for the spry villain, who wrestles free and disappears.
Investigating the crime scene with the police, Tinzi picks up cat hairs that have paint on them and observes a mousehole in the room. Marcello pompously thinks it is a sophisticated jewel thief, but the Investigatti feel there is a reason for targeting the rare Da Vinci collars. Reconvening with Furenzo, Tinzi tells Isabella that she is foolish to wear her father Codamo’s Da Vinci collar because she is next. Isabella does not want to give it up, so Furenzo and Tinzi insist on Ringo being her bodyguard.
While at the Uffizi, the Investigatti meet with their friend Topito, the mouse king. He lives in a lavish mousehole that connects to the General’s room, full of cheese and bumbling mouse attendants. Topito initially thought the noise was Catanova, who often climbs to the General’s daughter’s room, but it was the terrifying Cat Burglar wearing an artistically designed mask that around the eyes looked like “two matching fish”. They pivot to the General’s daughter, who breaks down and admits that Catanova visited her the night of the robbery, but she didn’t want her father to know.
Using a tip from Lenza or “Lenny the Fisher Cat”, the Investigatti discover the Cat Burglar came to pick up an item left on the Ponte Vecchio bridge by Purrfidia. A merchant in the town market, the sultry “femme fatale” Purrfidia sells everything under the sun and has connections to the underworld cats. Though Purrfidia has no idea who the Cat Burglar is, she shows Tinzi a note and warns him “curiosity can kill the cat.” The note is signed by a “Feles”, Latin for cat, and contains a trident symbol that symbolizes dominion over the seas.
The tension escalates, as Tinzi is convinced it is Catanova who is the Cat Burglar for many reasons, including that he has masks and capes, is athletic and artistic, hails from the seafaring town of Venice, and is a debtor who banks with Pompeo. Tinzi is going to catch him in the act, but Isabella feels his jealousy is causing him to jump to conclusions. She and Ringo believe the “Feles” and trident leads need to be examined further, and that Tinzi doesn’t want to push things because of his own fears. It hardens his resolve to catch
Catanova, so he splits off while they go to the art exhibition hosted by Pompeo.
During his stakeout from the roof of Pitti Palace alongside Catileo, who is all wrapped up with the constellations in the sky, Tinzi uses the magnified lens to see what appears to be the Cat Burglar emerge from the roof of Catanova’s home with a jewel in hand. Tinzi chases after the masked cat, finally trapping the thief in an alley aided by the body slam from police deputy Mimma. It turns out to be the street cat Bartolomeow, who proclaims his innocence to Tinzi saying he was set up by the Cat Burglar to carry out the fencing of a jewel. The police haul away Bartolomeow due to other material evidence tied to the Cat Burglar in his possession.
Isabella and Ringo attend Pompeo’s art exhibit, where classical Renaissance art works are being looked upon by familiar cats, including Gatturo, Michelangelino, Pompeo, Purrfidia, Caterina, Catanova and even Topito. Isabella asks Pompeo about a painting with dolphins and tridents, which he explains he bought from an anonymous artist. In the work, she detects the Cat Burglar’s “Feles” signature. Isabella yells for Ringo as she goes outside, but the dog is preoccupied chowing down food. Expecting Ringo to catch up, it is instead the Cat Burglar, who goes for her Leonardo Da Vinci collar. She fights back, but the villain manages to steal it and land a blow as the scene fades to black.
Isabella wakes up beneath the Santa Croce church as a captive. The Cat Burglar has collected all the Da Vinci cat collars, but Isabella learns the thief really wants the gemstones for a different reason: Leonardo Da Vinci created the collars because its gems can be placed in the hidden Medici shield and give power to the possessor by activating a curse over Florence. The Cat Burglar tells her if she helps him solve the symbology on the gems to find the shield and activate its curse, then the Cat Burglar will spare her and the ones she loves.
Tinzi reunites with Ringo, who cannot find Isabella. Tinzi is livid, he was supposed to be her bodyguard. The dog apologizes and points out he last saw her conferring with Pompeo in front of a painting with the tridents and symmetrical dolphins. They find out from Erasmus and Erasma that they are the symbols of the exiled Pazzi cats, rivals of the Medici cats. Isabella must have realized this and that the Cat Burglar wants revenge.
Having removed the gemstones from their shell casings, Isabella tells the Cat Burglar she cannot decode them. Stalling further with funny puns, the fed-up Cat Burglar opens up a hidden wardrobe compartment in the room that shows Furenzo bound and gagged. If she does not help, then she will witness his death. Scared, she relents. The thief again shows her the gemstones with Da Vinci’s encoded symbols, which involve the Duomo cathedral and the Uccello clock inside the church. She decodes the information as to what the Cat Burglar must do to find the shield and activate the curse. The villain ties her back up, leaving her and Furenzo in the crypt. Isabella eventually succeeds in breaking out from her binds, freeing Furenzo. They escape with the help of Mamma Gatta and her rambunctious kittens, who will not heed their mother’s pleas to quiet down when they hear noises.
Isabella and Furenzo emerge from the church and reunite with Tinzi and Ringo. She tells Furenzo that he must warn the police the Cat Burglar plans to destroy Florence by activating a curse at the Duomo. Meanwhile, the Cat Burglar is at the Duomo’s bell tower and has found the location of the hidden Medici shield. Putting the gemstones in their proper places in the missing slots, the shield turns on with the blue fleur de lis ball of the shield reversing to reveal a timepiece. The Cat Burglar pulls out the device’s “clock winding” key, winds it to the XII mark and then sets the real Uccello clock in the church to the same time. As the Cat Burglar winds the Uccello clock, Isabella, Tinzi and Ringo arrive inside the Duomo. Their attempt to stop the villain is too late – the clock and shield are in sync ticking to XXIV – the curse has begun. The skies darken over Florence, flooding rains begin, and scorpions emerge as the Cat Burglar runs away in maniacal glee.
Throughout the town, the rest of the Florentine Cats experience the chaos: e.g. Lenny the Fishing Cat sees a wave and scatters from his post on the bridge; Mamma Gatta and the kittens climb a roof to avoid the stormy streets and scorpions; and Catileo rushes to protect his telescopic equipment amid the flapping winds and rains atop the Pitti Palace.
Tinzi, Isabella and Ringo go to the Medici shield, which causes Tinzi anxiety flashing back to when he was a kitten. They have to figure out a way to get the shield to stop, but it is in sync with the real Uccello clock and unchangeable without the specific clock winding key. Unable to stop it, the Investigatti brave the storms and enter the Biblioteca, where Erasmus and Erasma have sought refuge at the top shelves. They explain the Medici cat shield was first used by a mythical cat many years before to expel invaders in Florence. Leonardo Da Vinci figured out how to operate this magical shield, but it was deemed too dangerous and hidden away. They learn the curse will bring permanent darkness and storms over Florence unless they can turn the clock back to the XII setting before it reaches XXIV. The “ticking clock” can be reversed, but it means solving Da Vinci’s clues.
The Cat Burglar has made it to the top of the Palazzo Vecchio, where the city marauder hoists a Pazzi flag. Tinzi, Isabella and Ringo return to the shield, and fail in their attempts with different methods to reverse the curse. A frustrated Tinzi blames himself and his fixation on solving things his own way that led to this. He tells them they do not have enough time with the clock ticking to XXIV, and must tell Furenzo to evacuate the city. A disheartened Isabella reminds him they are a team and can figure out a way, but Tinzi leaves with Ringo to save as many as they can.
Tinzi and Ringo brave the storms to reach the Palazzo Vecchio, where the Cat Burglar has rounded up Furenzo and the Medici ruling council, threatening them that they must go into exile and cede rule before the clock ticks to XXIV. It is their choice to save the city or curse the city. This sparks something in Tinzi. He tells Ringo to warn Furenzo not to surrender.
Arriving back at the Duomo, Tinzi explains to Isabella that the symbols have dual meaning. Da Vinci knew that there are two sides to the human soul, good and bad, but that the good could be revealed too. It is “their choice” to save or curse the city. Isabella realizes that Tinzi is right and the clock winding key in reverse from the encoded symbol is the fleur de lis symbol. It is the symbol not only on the shield’s blue ball, but also the very one on his collar that represents Florence and has been passed down generations - he himself holds the key - the reverse clock winding key.
Tinzi sticks the end of his collar with the fleur de lis into the clock – it accepts it like a key into a lock. As it nears XXIV, he winds the clock back to the XII position. The shield still does not turn off, but the blue fleur de lis ball returns to the front. Tinzi realizes that if the clock winding key needs to physically wind the Uccello clock, would not the reverse be the same?
With the water on the streets of Florence creeping into the Duomo, Tinzi climbs the dark, winding stairs to the mirror image Uccello clock on the reverse side. As it ticks to XXIV and permanent darkness and the water rises around him, he climbs on the pulleys, levers, and wheels to position himself. Being careful to keep his balance and not damage the internal clock workings, he winds the clock back to the XII mark and everything goes away – the darkness, the storm clouds, the rains, the creatures, etc. The Cat Burglar is astonished the dastardly plans have gone awry with the clear skies and everything normal again. The villain quickly leaps from the top of the Palazzo Vecchio with Ringo, Furenzo’s guards and the police giving chase. The villain disappears into the vast expanse of the Boboli Gardens. Tinzi says he knows exactly who the Cat Burglar is.
They enter the home of Gatturo, the diplomatic cat, who says the darkness terrified him and wondered if they have found the Cat Burglar yet? Tinzi explains they have and asks if he can see Gatturo’s set of keys. Tinzi points out the trident shaped handle on one key and that it reminded him of an insignia on a leather case during their initial visit. The case had two symmetrical dolphins resembling case handles and a trident above the keyhole. These are symbols of the Pazzi cats, the Medici enemies. Tinzi explains that Gatturo is a Pazzi cat, and in flashback he chronicles all the different ways Gatturo tried to conceal his crimes and identity. Gatturo confesses that he was a youth when his feline parents perished in the revolt to topple Florence, and he was sent into exile. He grew up and changed appearance, returning to Florence to avenge his family’s demise and the cats primarily responsible for it – Furenzo, Codamo and General Severo.
After his confession, Gatturo escapes though a secret passage in his house. Chasing his scent, Ringo leads Tinzi and Isabella in hot pursuit of the Cat Burglar and they corner him with the police at the Ponte Vecchio bridge. With nowhere to go, Gatturo jumps in the Arno River and is captured with Lenny’s fishing net. The Cat Burglar has finally been caught!
A new day dawns in Florence as Tinzo, Ringo and Isabella are back at Palazzo Vecchio for an outdoor ceremony with all the cats. Furenzo de Medici puts his legendary da
Vinci cat collar on again with its sparkling gemstone (Isabella also has hers on again too). They are all joyous that the mystery has been solved and Florence is at peace, once again bathing in the light of the Renaissance and its aspirational ideals.
The Florentine Cats
Author/Creator: Robert G. Seal©[/read]