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The Leopard Man (1943)

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

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (additional dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
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
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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

The black leopard Dynamite also appeared in Val Lewton's Cat People (1942). See more »

Goofs

DVD subtitles mistakes: Galbraith describes the ancient Indians' use of jaguar skulls in their "religious rites," but the captions read "religious rights". 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 »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Las Mañanitas
(uncredited)
Traditional Mexican birthday song
Performed by Fely Franquelli and Ottola Nesmith
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

My favorite Lewton-Tourneur film
4 August 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I think 'The Leopard Man' is the most memorable and frightening of the three Lewton-Tourneur collaborations. While it may be more straightforward than 'I Walked With a Zombie' or 'Cat People,' it's more atmospheric and more effective because its chills are predicated on agoraphobic horror. 'I Walked With a Zombie' was confined to a tropical island setting, while 'The Leopard Man' takes place in a New Mexico border town, on the edge of town, so that we travel along the desolate and wide open spaces of the sleepy Southwest at nighttime.

Early in the film, a young Mexican girl is sent on a late-night errand by her mother to buy some tortilla. Being that the shop is closed, she must traverse the sandy expanse between town and the nearest open shop. During this trek, she must pass under a bridge, and the shadows and sounds that stalk her are terrifying. Recalling this scene, right now, gives me goosebumps.

Horror is the most cinematic of all genres, because it works directly on the viewer's emotions and fears, using atmosphere, sound, and montage as its tools. Most horror films are either exploitative or slick and empty, unfortunately, but to watch 'The Leopard Man' is to encounter the full potential of the horror genre, as Tourneur paints with shadows and not entrails. Forgive its plot holes and its lunkheaded denouement, because the journey there is a hair-raising walk in the dark.


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