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  • PG
  • Drama, Fantasy
  • 1942
  • 73 mins

Cat People

Cat People


The classiest of B movie horrors, featuring Simone Simon as a young newlywed afraid that arousal will transform her into a panther


A Serbian-born beauty living in New York, Irena Dubrovna (Simon) is haunted by the fear that she has been cursed. She is convinced that whenever she is emotionally aroused she will turn into a murderous panther. Her husband Oliver Reed (Smith) understandably becomes frustrated when denied his conjugal rights and tries to dismiss her fears as superstition.

He soon packs her off to a psychiatrist Dr Louis Judd (Conway) and takes a lover, Alice (Randolph). When the woman betrayed finds out about her husband's infidelity, she starts to stalk her rival.

Has the transformation happened? Or is it all in her mind? Producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur's magical genre-bending masterpiece still manages to dazzle you with its audacity. Famously making a virtue of its limitations, the film features no actors in cat-suits, no explicit special effects, just terror in the shadows. The challenging plot devices of frigidity and repressed lesbianism are impossible to avoid.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Jack Holt, Tom Conway, Alan Napier, Jane Randolph, Simone Simon, Kent Smith
  • Director: Jacques Tourneur
  • Writer: DeWitt Bodeen
  • Producer: Val Lewton
  • Photographer: Nicholas Musuraca
  • Composer: Roy Webb

In a nutshell

Its techniques would be adopted by noir, its themes are aped by horror films and thrillers today.

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