Film 2 - The Curse of the Cat People: With this forgotten
film Robert Wise made his direction debut in a project which he took
from Gunther von Fritsch. You could say that Wise here redeemed himself
with this beautiful film after being involved in the Greatest
Film Slaughter of all time when he, on order from above, corrupted dickheads,
shredded Orson Welles Masterpiece "The Magnificent
Ambersons" - read much more about The Ambersons on my Cult &
Classics Page 2.
It's supposed to be some sort of a sequel to the 1943
Horror classic BUT "The Curse of the Cat People" really isn't
a horror film, but
a fascinating combination of Fairy Tale and Psychological Drama with
moments of Fantasy and thoughts about child-care thrown into
it too and the film's title has nothing to do with the film itself (except
that 4 of the actors also were in Cat People too).
This film may be somewhat obscure today but it was surprisingly beautiful
and great, and also poetic in a way that resembles the film
Charles Laughton later would make in 1955, the cinematic masterpiece
"The Night of the Hunter". Maybe Laughton had seen this
film and got inspired by the fairy tale qualities of The Curse of the
Cat People ?
This is an impressive and exciting vision from Wise
and producer genius Val Lewton et al. and child actor, the 6-7 years;
old Ann Carter
is very good in the main role.
Oliver and Alice Reed (Kent Smith and Jane Randolph)
has a kid, little Amy (Carter) who's an introverted and lonesome dreamer.
worries Oliver as he remembers Irena's fantasies about cats (in Cat
People). Little Amy starts visiting an older, somewhat odd, lady
Julia Farren (Julia Dean) who tell Amy spooky ghost-stories and who
believes that her unhappy daughter Barbara (Elizabeth Russell)
really is dead. Amy also has a princess-like imaginary friend that only
she can see, Irena (Simone Simon).
This great film is about the child Amy and a drama - Not a horror.
The DVD presents the film in original 4:3 fullscreen,
shot in black & white by cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca, mono
with yet another great and informative audio commentary by Greg Mank
(i like it a lot when also the actors in the film are mentioned
and presented to us, but i finds it boring when there are too much talk
about the production costs and such, and when a director
blatantly ignores the actors, then he may be an unpleasant person and
too full of himself.
Film 1 - Cat People:
Atmosphere, horror and melodrama in a masterful mix
produced by Val Lewton and directed by the great Jaques Tourneur. A
Exotic beauty Irena (Simone Simon in her most famous role and with a
lovely french accent) and Oliver Reed (Kent Smith) meets in
the New York Zoo, when she is painting a black panther. They become
a couple and marry, even though she has some noticeable
quirks, as being fixated to cats and living next to the Zoo so she can
listen to the roars of these big animals.
Another hindrance to their marital bliss is her firm belief that she's
put under the spell of her Serbian homeland's Curse, that she is
one of the Cat People, and that she will transform into a predator Panther
when having Sex.
Well, that could be a small marital problem, and soon their marriage
is crumbling. Which gives an opening for Oliver's colleague at
work, Alice (Jane Randolph) to act and to get her man, something Irena
don't like that much.
The Scene in the restaurant with the Cat Woman (Elizabeth Russell) and
the one in the swimming-pool belongs to Film History.
4:3 fullscreen, mono, black & white, with a fine
and informative audio commentary by Greg Mank, a telephone interview
with Simone Simon (1912-2005) and a Trailer