Cat People (1942)

A B-Movie from the Val Lewton unit about a young fashion designer who fears she is a descendent of a race of people who turn into leopards when they become sexually aroused. This film was also one of the core texts for my B-Movies film studies module at university.

While of course you could probably pick quite large holes in this film plotwise, it is still quite a passable film. Of course not many of the main actors are famous for any notable films but this film is one of those to which there is more than meets the eye.

Being a B-film, it is not particularly long at all at around 72 minutes but there are moments when this time seems to drag quite considerably. The film does quite a good job at heightening the tension but never actually showing the monster to which everyone is afraid of. On second and third viewings the undercurrents of lesbianism are hard to avoid in the film’s narrative but this is cleverly hidden.

The popularized Lewton Bus technique is done adequately here (indeed, this film popularized the method) and at times the film does feel like an A-feature but the overuse of a particular dream sequence makes its B-Movie status all too obvious. Of course, if not for my film course I probably wouldn’t have watched the film to begin with because its not really the sort of genre I’d choose if I had the choice.

Some of the tension-filled scenes did make me jump (especially the scene when the bus arrives – when the scene was being shown during a seminar!) but it must’ve been interesting to watch this film for the first time at the cinema upon initial release at a time when there was no outside interference from the internet.

MY RATING: **.5 / *****

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