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The Leopard Man (1943)

 -  Horror | Thriller  -  8 May 1943 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 2,722 users  
Reviews: 69 user | 42 critic

A seemingly tame leopard used for a publicity stunt escapes and kills a young girl, spreading panic throughout a sleepy new Mexico town.

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(screenplay), (additional dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Leopard Man (1943)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dennis O'Keefe ...
Jerry Manning
Margo ...
Clo-Clo
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
Edit

Storyline

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 <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Women Alone the Victims of Strange, Savage Killer! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

8 May 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El hombre leopardo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Made it's New York TV premiere 29 September 1956 on WOR (channel 9). See more »

Goofs

In a few scenes, Clo-Clo uses her castanets to augment her conversation, but the sound she produces by using only one castanet is actually the sound of two castanets. See more »

Quotes

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Another huge success from that genius Val Lewton!
18 May 2005 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

After their success in 1942 with the fabulous 'Cat People', the star team of producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur would team up twice the year later. First for the compelling and brilliant 'I Walked With a Zombie', and second for this film; The Leopard Man. For the movie, the two filmmakers re-cast the star of their first success, the big black leopard, in this movie, who once again plays a big black leopard. The screenplay this time round makes far better use of the animal at the centre of the film, which allows the impressive creature to make a much bigger impression on the movie, and it also gives the film a unique edge over other horror movies, as there aren't a great deal that can build around a leopard. In fact, one thing that struck me about this movie was it's similarity to the 1980's remake of Cat People, and I wonder just how much influence that film took from this production. Anyway, the story here is deliriously simple and it follows a leopard that has escaped from a nightclub. After a few deaths, the cat is blamed...but is there more to this scenario than meets the eye?

Just like Val Lewton's earlier and later productions, The Leopard Man is notable for it's breathtaking atmosphere, which is once again up there with the greatest ever seen in cinema. The use of shadows and lighting is impressive, and when you combine this with Jacques Tourneur's incredible ability to stage a scene amidst this atmosphere; you've got a recipe for a truly great horror movie. This movie isn't as full of great scenes as Cat People was, but there is still some really good stuff on display, including my favourite scene which sees someone mauled behind a closed door. I'm not a big subscriber to the idea of 'less is more', but the scene I just mentioned goes to show just how well it can work if utilised properly. If the film had directly shown the killing, it would have uprooted the atmosphere and the terror of the movie on the whole wouldn't have been as astute. As it happens, The Leopard Man has got it spot on. But then again, would you expect anything less from a Val Lewton production?


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