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Irena Dubrovna, a beautiful and mysterious Serbian-born fashion artist living in New York City, falls in love with and marries average-Joe American Oliver Reed. Their marriage suffers though, as Irena believes that she suffers from an ancient curse- whenever emotionally aroused, she will turn into a panther and kill. Oliver thinks that is absurd and childish, so he sends her to psychiatrist Dr. Judd to cure her. Easier said than done... Written by
Ken Yousten <email@example.com>
When Irena does not show up at her apartment when Dr. Judd, Oliver, and Alice are waiting for her, they leave. Dr. Judd hides cane in apartment to give him an excuse to borrow Oliver's key and go back in for it, after when he leaves the door unlocked so that he can sneak back in, something hidden from Oliver and Alice. Yet after Oliver and Alice are threatened in the office, they call the apartment to warn Dr. Judd that Irena is definitely dangerous and that he should leave. See more »
Not since the heyday of James Whale in the early and mid-thirties had there been anything like this one, a horror art movie. As persuasively acted by Kent Smith and Simon Simon, it concerns a young American architect, romantic if somewhat dry, and his Serbian-born wife, who has an irrational fear of turning into a cat. Since our introduction to her has her standing in front of the lion cage at the zoo, we are inclined to believe her.
The couple's sexual difficulties (we see him sleeping on the sofa) lead the husband to suggest psychotherapy, which turns out to have tragic consequences, as it gets the poor woman too in touch with her feelings. Very little of the horror in this film is shown. Cat People was revolutionary in this respect, and had a huge impact on many films that followed, not just horrors. The picture also put its producer, Val Lewton, on the map, making him the first and last wunderkind of B movies, as he became somewhat of a celebrity from this point on, turning out high quality fright films for the next four years. Never before or since has a B level producer achieved such status.
Director Jacques Tourneur deserves the lion's share of credit for this movie, bringing his light touch, in itself almost feline, to every scene; and in making the story seem far more intelligent than it is. Like Lewton, Tourneur was a gifted man whose natural refinement was both his making as well as his undoing, since a man of his taste and sensibility could never thrive in Hollywood, and could only expect success in fits and starts, as indeed would prove to be the case.
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