Aug. 30, 2008, 5:38 a.m. CST
Aug. 30, 2008, 5:54 a.m. CST
I think you must be writing these just because you're too embarrassed to stop. I don't blame you of course, I always finish what I start. Although, I tend to only start things that are worthwhile.
Aug. 30, 2008, 6:04 a.m. CST
would make a great double feature with this- Kirk Douglas as a hollywood producer who gets his start directing films like the cat people series.
Aug. 30, 2008, 6:07 a.m. CST
by The Eskimo
Starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Michael Phelps.
Aug. 30, 2008, 6:45 a.m. CST
Is another good Val Lewton production, with Boris Karloff. I don't recall much of The Body Snatcher and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep during Bedlam. I've only seen parts of Curse of the Cat People, but I recall it being a very different movie. Kind of a "concept sequel".
Aug. 30, 2008, 7:05 a.m. CST
is seeing the same faces show up in supporting roles. He had a real rep company in these films. The cat faced woman will return! If Cat People wasn't what you expected, wait til you see Curse of...a real left turn from the first one. Leopard Man is one of the best of this series. Are you saving that one, or have you seen it already?
Aug. 30, 2008, 7:11 a.m. CST
Horse People indeed.
Aug. 30, 2008, 7:53 a.m. CST
if you like wacky noir, watch it. <P> but the sequel is really shit.
Aug. 30, 2008, 7:54 a.m. CST
I remember that talkback
Aug. 30, 2008, 7:56 a.m. CST
Aug. 30, 2008, 8:11 a.m. CST
Quint - Don't expect an actual sequel or you will be disappointed. As I understand it, the Cat People label was pretty much applied by the studio in order to cash in. Haven't actually watched "Curse" yet (I have the same DVD edition), but I hear it's pretty good on its own merits.
Aug. 30, 2008, 8:24 a.m. CST
Glad to see this classic film reviewed. "Cat People" is a great film and made better, for me, by the mysterious Simone Simon. I wouldn't call the film pure genre horror, though, as much of the film's horror was more psychological. The same goes for Tourneur's "I Walked With a Zombie," for me, my favorite zombie film, as I hate the Romero-type zombie. It's a dark yet Hollywoodish psychological exploration of Voodoo traditions on a Caribbean island. The film to really check out, though, is Tourneur's "Out of the Past," starring Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas, one of my favorite "film noir" films ever.
Aug. 30, 2008, 9:01 a.m. CST
Curse of the Cat People actually is a direct sequel to the original (the three main leads return), but it goes off in a direction you're not expecting it to go (the setting is more suburban, and a child is the main character). In a lot of ways it's creepier than the original. For what it's worth, I liked the second one just a little bit more than the first one.
Aug. 30, 2008, 9:05 a.m. CST
The Leopard Man might be my favorite of his three with Lewton. Not because it is violent, but because it feels like all his skills from the prior two films come together in it. It's a great horror movie that goes a little too under appreciated in light of its older siblings.
Aug. 30, 2008, 9:10 a.m. CST
to me is the best example that, yes, Karloff CAN ACT. It's not that I don't see the nuances in Frankenstein and The Mummy among others, but for people that won't buy those performances, this is the film to sit them down to. In many ways I think it's his best. Highly recommend!
Aug. 30, 2008, 9:34 a.m. CST
Keep it up. This is what a movie geek site should be doing, and hopefully your reviews will get some of the younger ones among us to give "old" movies a shot. <p> When I managed video stores, I was amazed by the number of people who wouldn't watch a movie if it wasn't produced within their lifetime, and an even greater number who wouldn't watch black & white movies at all. I didn't (and still don't) understand why people would intentionally not watch classics like "Arsenic and Old Lace", "Harvey", "Citizen Kane", "12 Angry Men", "The Great Dictator", "The General", "Nosferatu", "The Last Man on Earth" or "Duck Soup" (among many, many others) just because of the technology used to film these movies, or the decade in which they were filmed. I still get into debates with people about the Netflix "Watch Now" selection, because there are a lot of great classics in there, but a lot of people say, "There's nothing in it so it's not worth the effort!" -- Well, no, you won't find "No Country for Old Men" in the Watch Now selection, but you *will* find "Network" or "High Plains Drifter", or "Let's Make Love". There's a lot to watch in there if you like MOVIES.<p> So like I said: Keep it up. Remind the younger members of the filmgoing community that there's a wealth of great movies out there, and that anything from the "Classics" shelf is going to be better than wasting your money on "Epic Movie".
Aug. 30, 2008, 10:08 a.m. CST
by Jonah Echo
There are some great interviews with Simone Simon on the disc. Shes much later in life at that point, but it's cool to hear her talk. Check them out. Some great commentary as well. <P> Don't forget that great chase scene in the dark streets,w here if you listen carefully you can hear the high heels turn into the padding of cat. <P.> Looking forward to see what you think of the sequel.
Aug. 30, 2008, 10:25 a.m. CST
I don't remember much though, so I'll have to check it out again. I think I had the same reaction that Quint had. I expected more of a sensationalist film instead of a classy horror-thriller. <p> I am also shocked at the number of people who refuse to watch films in black and white. I actually prefer the look of black and white to color. It creates some wonderful atmosphere.
Aug. 30, 2008, 10:37 a.m. CST
by lex romero
seriously, it was like serbian by way of Borat. Anyway, i thought the film was a bit rubbish really. There was some nice atmosphere and well directed scenes. But for the most part the whole thing was one of those unintentionally funny films, its aged terribly.
Aug. 30, 2008, 11:30 a.m. CST
Really great film and IMO Lewton's best . Creepy , dark mood throughout and Karloff!
Aug. 30, 2008, 11:36 a.m. CST
by the beef
Everyone has their favorite of his films. Personally, THE BODY SNATCHER is mine, and someone mentioned it before having Karloff's best performance which I fully agree on. I think had the film been watched more Karloff's character would be considered amongst the best villians in cinema history. Actually, I didn't even see THE BODY SNATCHER on Quint's list to be viewed...WHY!!!!!?????? It must be seen!!!!!! Is he planning to connect it as part of a different thread? Robert Wise maybe?
Aug. 30, 2008, 11:38 a.m. CST
by the beef
Has the best ending to a film. Ever.
Aug. 30, 2008, 12:27 p.m. CST
The only part I saw was the pool scene. <p>Annette's O'Tooles, as it were.
Aug. 30, 2008, 12:55 p.m. CST
in anticipation of the talkback, because I'm just that nerdy. There's an elegance of all of Lewton's films, with this one perhaps being the best known (although "I Walked with a Zombie" is still the best in my opinion). THere's a lot to impress about "Cat People". The performances are generally excellent and surprisingly naturalistic for a film of the genre and from the era. Simone Simon really conveys a lot: innocence, fear, dread, hopelessness, anger, menace, all pretty seamlessly. And the scene in the restaurant with Elizabeth Russell is absolutely my favorite scene in the movie, too. In some ways its the turning point of the picture, and its somehow sexy, creepy, sad and intruiging all at once. I was surprised by how much sexual undercurrent there is in the film. While it isn't totally overt, its not particularly subtle either, and as with a lot of horror, sex and death are closely tied together. Irena fears to consumate her marriage with her husband for fear of killing him, but when she thinks her territory is being encroached upon by her husband's friend Alice, she's willing to stalk her rival to an end we're not quite sure of. I'm surprised Quint didn't mention the scene that gave rise to the expression "the Lewton bus", which is a very effective jump scare even 60 years later and every bit as good as (if not better than) the pool scene. A couple of other brief comments - Tom Conway is great here as the lascivious Dr. Judd, a role he plays again in "The 7th Victim". He, as well as Elizabeth Russell, are part of a small group of actors who turn up in multiple Lewton films. They're both so effective here, and in pretty small roles, that its no wonder they turn up again. And I also want to mentioned Roy Webb's score for the picture, with that great little "Do Baby Do" piece that is used so elastically to convey the romance, sadness, and menace that runs through "Cat People". Just be prepared for a sequel that is *very* different but very beautiful.
Aug. 30, 2008, 1:10 p.m. CST
I too love the cafe scene. And the lighting in this film is amazing. The street scene, with high heels turning to paws, has those very dark shadows and should be watched by anyone working on a lighting crew on a movie set.<p>Simone is just a total babe as well. According to a biography special, she is the real life inspiration of The Bond Girl.-----later-----m
Aug. 30, 2008, 1:17 p.m. CST
"Cat People" was hugely successful for RKO, which was heavily in debt at the time. Its success is often credited for saving the studio and for also giving Lewton the freedom to make the next few pictures without much in the way of studio interference - which is how you get a really different sequel like "Curse of the Cat People".
Aug. 30, 2008, 1:20 p.m. CST
Buddy, I'm sure you know by now how wrong you are. Your weird hatred of this column is ridiculed every time you post. Why continue? Is inane and worthless criticism one of the 'worthwhile things you never stop'?
Aug. 30, 2008, 2:43 p.m. CST
Cat People is a lot of fun. Like film noirs of the 40s, a little goes a long way. Shadows have great meaning (e.g., simulating cage bars in Irena’s apartment), and what’s left to our imagination is much more powerful than anything the director could’ve shown us onscreen. With its moody setting and simple premise, this is an engaging mystery that keeps you guessing until the last frame of the film.
Aug. 30, 2008, 3:35 p.m. CST
The sequel is actually one of my favorite films. It is true it is a sequel in only the most base ways: it follows the characters but really goes off in its own way in terms of the plot. But I love the story it tells. I also love that Val Lewton made it the film it is. The studio wanted him to make a rehash-the-plot-of-the-last-film style followup and really tried to make him make that film and he just said, "Sorry, this is the film I want to make and I'm making it." Balls, pure balls.
Aug. 30, 2008, 3:58 p.m. CST
by Alonzo Mosely
"God why do you guys bother. Really, it is just embarrasing. I don't have AT&T service, I am never going to have AT&T service so why do you continue this pathetic attempt to run a business. I have Verizon. God you people are fucking stupid."
Aug. 30, 2008, 4:16 p.m. CST
As I have never seen this film, I have to ask, how does it compare to the Paul Schrader remake?
Aug. 30, 2008, 4:25 p.m. CST
Aug. 30, 2008, 4:57 p.m. CST
The psychological and emotional depths Cat People explores is remarkable. Very few horror films reach such heights of layered storytelling. The nuances of love, both the good and dark things that attract us to people, are given fair share. It’s more honest than 90% of other movies from Hollywood. Jacques Tourneur has been a favorite director of mine for a while. Nightfall is a criminally overlooked film noir he did, not even on DVD, which very well might have inspired the Coens with Fargo. Surprisingly, his often expressionistic direction is somewhat restrained in Cat People though certainly evident in several scenes. Shadows are as much of a character as anything else. But performances seem to be the main focus. Simone Simon is the film’s rock displaying vulnerability, genuine good intentions, fear of what’s in her, and sly menace when needed. DeWitt Bodeen’s script is a virtue of selected economy. Though Kent Smith is effective, he comes across as too decent and honorable to be three-dimensional. I wondered if he’d had career in daytime soaps in the 50s, but the only resemblance was 35 episodes of Peyton Place in the 60s. The metaphorical fear of sexuality—the cat ready to spring in all of us— is obvious but the aforementioned emotional nuance makes up for any clanging allegory. Cat People lives up to its reputation; I believe it’s a favorite of Scorsese’s. I was not disappointed.
Aug. 30, 2008, 7:02 p.m. CST
That "Nightfall" is criminally overlooked. I would also add his other masterpiece, "Night of the Demon", as one that is waiting to be rediscovered by a new generation. On a side note, add my vote to those already asking for Quint to see "The Leopard Man". In my humble opinion, the best of the Val Lewton productions.
Aug. 30, 2008, 7:43 p.m. CST
Okay, just watched. It IS a sequel, just barely. It's a Cat People sequel without Cat People. Almost as if they had some other script lying around and doctored it to serve as a sequel (but I don't think they did). Not bad taken on its own terms. Robert Wise's first film, apparently!
Aug. 30, 2008, 7:46 p.m. CST
by Lazarus Long
It's arguably the best of the Tourneur-Lewton collaborations, and since you're working your way through the Lewton boxed set it would be a shame to skip it. A hell of a lot better than Ghost Ship, Isle of the Dead, or Bedlam, that's for sure.
Aug. 30, 2008, 7:58 p.m. CST
Agree Night of the Demon is wonderful. My favourite Jacques tourneur film. Just make sure you watch the longer UK version, it's better than the truncated US version.
Aug. 30, 2008, 8:36 p.m. CST
I just saw that a few months ago and, wow, what a great movie. How did I miss that for so many years?
Aug. 30, 2008, 8:50 p.m. CST
by Grammaton Cleric Binks
It's always in the top ten as everyone else is out having a life. But seriously, if it brings notice to older more obscure films I'm all for it.
Aug. 30, 2008, 9:12 p.m. CST
by Grammaton Cleric Binks
seen Green because he knows the ending. I keep telling him he has to see it anyway because of the superb story and acting by the late great Heston.
Aug. 30, 2008, 9:20 p.m. CST
Soylent Green has his last performance and it's a good one too.
Aug. 30, 2008, 9:24 p.m. CST
by Grammaton Cleric Binks
I think they actually spelled it that way. I read Charlton Heston's bio. He talked a lot about this movie. Edward G died just a few days after filming I believe. He had heart problems, and Heston speculated he knew not only this would be his last film, but that the end was near, and loved every minute of being on the set one lst time.
Aug. 30, 2008, 9:25 p.m. CST
by Grammaton Cleric Binks
Aug. 30, 2008, 9:38 p.m. CST
I mak typoss alll tge tyme.
Aug. 31, 2008, 7:15 a.m. CST
by Paul Bucciarelli
Outraged? Go cut the grass or something useful like that. Quit being a baby.
Aug. 31, 2008, 11:14 a.m. CST
This "movie a day" thing sure is lame. Seems like a colossal waste of time to me. What's up with this whole "attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge" thing? How does watching a bunch of shitty movies going to do this? What did you learn about "film" by watching "Cat People"?<p>Please don't turn into another Harry. We don't need another Harry. Have you noticed any weight gain since this whole "Movie a day" project started?<p>Oh well, if you want to throw away hundreds of hours by watching movies then go ahead but there sure are a lot of other things you could be doing that would be FAR more productive than this. Go and take a course on film making or something. Learn how to speak ebonics.
Aug. 31, 2008, 1 p.m. CST
The Scriptgirl talkback is shut down because some talkbackers are stupid and rude, and the people that run the site eventually reach their limit. It's their right; it might even make for a better site.
Aug. 31, 2008, 2:16 p.m. CST
Val Lewton should be held up at the example against modern 'suspense' (i.e. people taking a REALLY long time to walk down a corridor). Lewton's films were about character, mood and holding back as much as possible. Love it!
Sept. 1, 2008, 9:10 a.m. CST
in my humble opinion, is the BEST horror film ever made. Credit the direction of Jacques Tourneur and Charles Bennett's flawless screenplay (sample the Snakes and Ladders game, i.e. "Funny thing, I always preferred sliding down the snakes to climbing up the ladders. You're a doctor of psychology, you ought to know the answer to that."/"Maybe you're a good loser."/"I'm not, you know. Not a bit."). One of the crowning achievements is Niall MacGinnis' performance as Karswell (a very grey villain, i.e. a devil worshipper with an Oedipal complex). Batzilla, "shitty movies?" One of the purposes of this thread is challenging today's extravagant budgets, i.e. invoking a period when shadows, rendered by a creative director, were demonstratively more functional than today's CGI. I have no doubt that you would prefer TRANSFORMERS or Troma's amateur platitudes. There's no point in trying to exorcise this sort of ignorance. Let's just say that it's your loss.
Sept. 2, 2008, 6:47 a.m. CST
I would love to see another remake of this... Malcolm McDowell and Kinski were great in that remake and with all the reboots around Hollywood these days... why not? I dont know if they can top the Bowie soundtrack but they can try... and why not throw some money into another film set in New Orleans? They just need to get Katie Sackhoff to play the lead female role... she's got the perfect bone structure in her face with those high cheekbones and beautiful wide eyes... she would be perfect!