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The Leopard Man (1943)

Approved | | Horror, Thriller | 25 June 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:

Jacques Tourneur

Writers:

Ardel Wray (screenplay), Edward Dein (additional dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dennis O'Keefe ... Jerry Manning
Margo ... Clo-Clo
Jean Brooks ... Kiki Walker
Isabel Jewell ... Maria - Fortune Teller
James Bell ... Dr. Galbraith
Margaret Landry 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:

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

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

25 June 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El hombre leopardo See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There are several unidentified musical pieces used during the film. However, the unusual birthday song sung a capella to Consuela is called "Las Mananitas"; it also turns up in Subida al Cielo/Mexican Busride. 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 »

Alternate Versions

Some older TV prints of "The Leopard Man" run 59 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs: Pieces (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Another huge success from that genius Val Lewton!
18 May 2005 | by The_VoidSee 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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