Cat People

Directed by Jacques Tourneur

The first of the horror films producer Val Lewton made for RKO Pictures redefined the genre by leaving its most frightening terrors to its audience’s imagination. Simone Simon stars as a Serbian émigré in Manhattan who believes that, because of an ancient curse, any physical intimacy with the man she loves (Kent Smith) will turn her into a feline predator. Lewton, a consummate producer-auteur who oversaw every aspect of his projects, found an ideal director in Jacques Tourneur, a chiaroscuro stylist adept at keeping viewers off-kilter with startling compositions and psychological innuendo. Together, they eschewed the canned effects of earlier monster movies in favor of shocking with subtle shadows and creative audio cues. One of the studio’s most successful movies of the 1940s, Cat People raised the creature feature to new heights of sophistication and mystery.


Cat People, United States, 1942, 73 minutes

Directed by Jacques Tourneur
Produced by Val Lewton
Screenplay by DeWitt Bodeen

With Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph


> Released September 20 by the Criterion Collection. More information here

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
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