Cat People

directed by Jacques Tourneur
Category: "Suspense"
Year of Release:1942
Date Added:01/24/2008
Date Watched:10/19/2005
Description:She was one of the dreaded "Cat People" — doomed to slink and prowl and court by night ... fearing always that a lover's kiss might change her into a snarling, clawing KILLER!
My Rating:5

Reviews for Cat People

Review - Cat People

This movie was recommended in the book 1001 Movies You Must See as a classic of psychological horror, so when I saw it was on TV I decided to skip Godfather II for now and watch it. I was home alone, in the dark, but I have to say there wasn’t a moment of fear. It was silly.

Irena, a pretty young girl, meets Oliver in front of the panther cage at the zoo. They fall in love and get married, even though she won’t let him kiss her. She tells him that there is a legend in her European village that her people turn into cats and kill their lovers in the heat of passion. Oliver tries to be patient, and sends her to a psychiatrist, but Irena gets more and more obsessed with her fears.

When Alice, a girl from Oliver’s office, confesses that she loves him, Oliver responds. Irena finds out and follows Alice home one night. There’s shadows and quick camera moves and all, but we don’t actually see a cat. Then Irena shows up at a swimming pool and startles Alice. Irena leaves, and Alice discovers that her robe is cut to ribbons.

Dr. Judd meets with Irena again and makes a move on her. Oliver tells Irena he wants a divorce. The next night, Oliver and Alice are working late when they find themselves locked into their office. In the shadows, the form of a panther is seen. Dr. Judd is waiting in Irena’s apartment. When she shows up, he kisses her. She turns into a panther and kills him, but not before he stabs her with his cane sword. Oliver and Alice find him dead and follow Irena to the zoo. Just before they arrive, she unlocks the panther’s cage. It springs out and knocks her down where she dies from the sword stab. The panther jumps over a wall where it is hit by a car.

I guess I don’t get why this movie is well-known. The production values are pretty poor, the acting not much better. The only interesting scenes are the ones where the camera jerks around while vaguely-panther-shaped shadows flick around. Simone Simon looks like a 15-year-old girl scout and was totally unconvincing as a danger. Even if she turned to a panther, Chessie could take her. Even when she was supposed to be the most scary and suspenceful, she just looked like she was lost. Her accent (French, I believe) made her very hard to understand.
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