The Leopard Man (1943)

Approved  |   |  Horror, Thriller  |  8 May 1943 (USA)
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A seemingly tame leopard used for a publicity stunt escapes and kills a young girl, spreading panic throughout a sleepy new Mexico town.



(screenplay), (additional dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Margo ...
Jean Brooks ...
Kiki Walker
Maria - Fortune Teller
James Bell ...
Dr. Galbraith
Margaret Landry ...
Teresa Delgado
Abner Biberman ...
Charlie How-Come
Tuulikki Paananen ...
Consuelo Contreras (as Tula Parma)
Ben Bard ...
Roblos - the Police Chief


At the encouragement of her manager, a nightclub performer in New Mexico (Kiki Walker) 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. In the days that follow, people are mauled and the countryside is combed for the loose creature. But Kiki and her manager begin to wonder if maybe the leopard is not responsible for the killings. Written by Ken Yousten <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Don't Be Afraid To Know the Truth about the Monster That Killed For a Thrill! See more »


Horror | Thriller


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Release Date:

8 May 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El hombre leopardo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the Summer of 1952, RKO reissued this film as a double feature with King Kong (1933). RKO "cashed in", as young theatergoers, due to this film's title, were expecting to see a second "creature" film. See more »


At the nightclub, Kiki is seated at a table with Jerry and Galbraith. As she asks Galbraith why he gave up teaching, a slim dark haired woman wearing a matching suit and hat walks past their table. The shot cuts to Galbraith saying 'Various reasons,' the woman can be seen behind him, already seated at a nearby table, just over his shoulder on the far left of the screen. See more »


[first lines]
Kiki Walker: It may sound like music to her. I can do better with my teeth in a cold shower.
See more »


Featured in Shadows in the Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Black Terror.. White Fangs
13 April 2004 | by (Brooklyn NY USA) – See all my reviews

****SPOILERS**** Dark and creepy film based on the Cornell Wollrich novel "Black Alibi" about a leopard on the loose in the desert and towns of New Mexico. With deep and disturbing psychological overtones that strikes more fear in the hearts of those in the movie and audience then the big cat itself.

Publicity agent Jerry Manning, Dennis O'Keefe, trying to spice up his client Kiki Walker, Jean Brooks, nightclub act gets her a black leopard from a local carnival to upstage her rival at the club Spanish dancer Clo Clo, Margo. On the first night of Kiki's act with the big cat the leopard gets startled by an angry Clo Clo who put her hand-clickers almost in it's face. The noise made the cat break away from Kiki as it disappears into the night.

With the local police as well as the towns people looking for the escaped black leopard it later crosses the path of young Teresa Guadalupe who's outside going to the store to get corn meal for her mother to make dinner. Terrified with fear at the sight of the almost demonic-looking black cat Teresa drops the bag of corn meal that she has and runs for her life with the leopard hot on her tail.

Getting to her house her mother doesn't let poor Teresa in because she didn't have the corn meal and thought that her story about her being chased by a big cat was just an excuse for her to let her in the house. A moment later there's a terrifying scream and then all is eerily quiet. Realizing that something is terribly wrong Teresa's mother runs to open the door she sees a stream of blood oozing under it, the cat killed little Teresa.

Terrifying movie that plays with ones nerves like a violinist pays with the strings of his violin. With sounds and shadows instead of special effects and really packs a wallop by doing it. There's three scenes in the movie where someone is killed including the one with Teresa and everyone of them brings the tension to such a hight where your nerves are at the point of breaking down. You just can't wait for the nerve racking scene to finally end where at the same time the director of the movie, Jacques Tourneur, keeps you totally in the dark to what's happening off screen.

Tourneur direction shows how the mind can be easily tricked and manipulated by an imaginative film maker with nothing more then lights sound & shadows. And thus brings far more shocks and jolts to his audience back in 1943 then what the best state-of-the-art special effects can do in a movie today.

Even though "Leopard Man" touched upon a lot of psychological aspects of the human, as well as animal, mind it pre-dates the movie "Spellbound" which many consider the first major Hollywood film about the subject by two years.

The films dark and eerie ending in the darkening New Mexican desert amid a black hooded precession to commemorate the 17th century slaughter of the towns original inhabitants, by the Spanish Conquistadors, was one of the most creepiest sights I've ever seen in a movie.

22 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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