The first horror film producer Val Lewton made for RKO Pictures redefined the genre by leaving its terrors to the audience’s imagination. A Serbian émigré in Manhattan believes that, because of an ancient curse, any physical intimacy with the man she loves will turn her into a feline predator.
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A unique film, iconographic in the liturgy of cinema. One of the few "horror" films I like because the horror is talked about and implied but the scariest thing shown is the shadow of a panther, or its growl offscreen. Likewise, there is a nude scene which is also not graphic, satisfying the censors while still being beautifully erotic. B- for the acting and points off for corny music, nonetheless must-see cinema.
The human being as the "other", as a foreign body (it's literally an animal) in the norm. The thought of the unthinkable scares more than the unthinkable itself. Tourneur game with uncertainty is a smart and suggestive one, full of distinctive textures and an expressive use of light / shadow. We don't fear the darkness because it robs us of our sight, but because it reminds us that ultimately we are alone.
So deep and soulful. Tourneur combines lurid pulp storytelling with such a strong spiritual undercurrent. What knocked me out the most was his luminous images, the use of light, shadow, and space. But of course I can't resist some pulpy action, and Cat People delivers in spades.
One of the best movies about sexual repression I've seen. The eternal fight between lust and permitted love, between panthers and cats. If you want to extend the metaphor a little more, you may still discourse, with your friends or within yourself, about the horrible way Simone Simon dies. "Who lives by the sword, shall perish by the sword" (Quentin Tarantino).
Another on of Val Lewton's sensational titles turned into a compelling drama, this time about a woman who is either a descendant of line of people who can turn into cats, or is slowly going mad. Director Jacques Tourneur delivers an atmospheric psychological drama that transcends its B-movie roots.
The swimming pool sequence is sexy and chilling -- the way Tourneur plays with shadows and silence is delightfully eerie to this day, and you find yourself wishing the rest of the film was as masterfully helmed. Alas, idiotic characters and garbage dialogue aplenty.