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527 Ratings

The Leopard Man

Directed by Jacques Tourneur
United States, 1943
Horror, Mystery, Thriller


At the encouragement of her manager, a nightclub performer in New Mexico takes a leashed leopard into the club as a publicity gimmick. But her rival, angered by the attempt to upstage, scares the animal and it bolts.

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The Leopard Man Directed by Jacques Tourneur

Critics reviews

The camera’s tender scratch, a most graceful vision of a most predatory world, just about one of Borges’ Ficciones.
June 09, 2014
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These types of scenes—of women moving through dangerous nighttime, trying to reach safety—were Lewton’s bread and butter (the most memorable sound in his films is of heels clicking on cobblestone), and that same year’s The Leopard Man, directed by Tourneur, is a brilliant showcase for them. In fact, with its succession of scenes of women stalked by unseen forces, it’s considered a landmark prototype for the slasher film.
October 21, 2013
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This economically constructed and haunting chiller (1943, 66 min.) from the inspired team of producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur doesn’t have the reputation of the two other films they worked on together in the early 40s, Cat People and I Walked With a Zombie. In part that’s because its ending is a bit abrupt and unsatisfactory — but it’s still one of the most remarkable B films ever to have come out of Hollywood.
October 01, 1990
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What are people saying?

  • HKFanatic's rating of the film The Leopard Man

    A film that holds up to most readings from a 2020 perspective: a pair of callous white entertainers visit the largely Mexican-American population of a peaceful border town and, thanks to their careless stunt (I don't know what else to call putting a leopard on a leash), inadvertently cause the deaths of at least three people. With Jacques Tourneur behind the camera, this is also a peerless study in mood and shadow.

  • Bilouaustria's rating of the film The Leopard Man

    CINEMA, 35 mm _ It looks like this inspired Mario Bava for his later slasher pictures. Light and shadow, great use of sound and silence, it is for sure very atmospherical. But still the script is far from overwhelming. «Out of the Past» and «Canyon Passage» are much more sophisticated and polished but there is anyway a distinctive touch about Tourneur’s directing and you seize it here right from the very first shot.

  • "Mother" Gin Sling's rating of the film The Leopard Man

    One of the finest films of Jacques Tourneur. The Leopard Man is even more masterful than Cat People: the shadowy cinematography, the combination of close-ups and long/subjective/high-angle shots create a unique dreamlike atmosphere, which surely inspired Dario Argento (Inferno). But the real beauty of the film is the heterogeneous soundtrack, which combines diegetic sounds and extra-diegetic music. Masterpiece.

  • T. J. Mesen's rating of the film The Leopard Man

    Tourneur's shadow compositions, his use of sounds and silences, his killer... It's the first time there truly was horror on screen. A monster willing to kill for killing-sake, without a reason besides pleasure. It's what Carpenter would do in Halloween; an evil we cannot explain that is out there and can find us at any time. No redemption, only a nightmare traversing the desert with the horror of humanity exposed.

  • Sudipto Basu's rating of the film The Leopard Man

    Quite aside from the absolutely crackling atmosphere so lovely to see a film deal with transference in 1943! Is there any other American director who used a silent soundtrack and figuration in vast empty spaces so effectively in the '40s? The basic proposition of a Lewton film is this - a woman walks 'tween shadow and light.

  • Gondo's rating of the film The Leopard Man

    Tourneur reduced the film to it's necessary resources. The story is non-existent and characters enter the picture as fast as they leave it. The only connection between them is sheer chance. The film is a pure exercise in atmosphere and a clear presentation of the mechanisms and the philosophy of the horrorfilm.. They walk, they look back and through the dark and unknown, fearing what may lurk in it, unable to escape.

  • Ryan Pearce's rating of the film The Leopard Man

    I've only recently discovered Tourneur, thanks to his many admirers on Mubi. So far I've seen 5 of his films, and all 5 receive 5 stars, 'The Leopard Man' being no exception. Dude has been slept on in the 'greatest directors' discussion for too long. Invest in his work, without hesitation.

  • mjgildea's rating of the film The Leopard Man

    There's something about a Val Lewton picture that manages to remain scary nearly 70 years after its made. Any scene in this movie where someone's murdered is a work of art. I almost want to watch this again right now.

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