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Officially a sequel to Val Lewton's psychological-horror classic Cat People (1942), Curse of the Cat People is in fact an engrossing and oftimes charming fantasy, told from a child's point of view. Six-year-old Ann Carter plays Amy Reed, the lonely daughter of eternally preoccupied Oliver Reed (Kent Smith). Amy's vivid imagination and inability to get along with her schoolmates leads Oliver to worry that the girl will start exhibiting the psychopathic tendencies of his long-deceased first wife Irena (Simone Simon), the obsessive "Cat Woman" in the earlier film. Oliver's second wife Alice (Jane Randolph) and Amy's sympathetic schoolteacher (Eve March) try to help, but Amy prefers the company of elderly Julia Farren (Julia Dean), a harmlessly crazy ex-actress who lives in a forbidding mansion with her neurotic daughter Barbara (Elizabeth Russell). Insanely jealous of Amy, Barbara ultimately tries to do the girl harm, but she is thwarted in this effort by the ghost of Irena, Amy's self-appointed guardian angel. Advertised as a horror picture, Curse of the Cat People has only one genuine "shock" scene; otherwise, the most frightening moment in the film is Julia Farren's spirited rendition of "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere." Saddled with a lurid title, producer Lewton and screenwriter DeWitt Bodeen chose to offer a fascinating glimpse into the wonderfully boundless realm of a child's imagination, and in this respect the film is an unqualified success.
Posted October 1, 2010
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This is a wonderful movie that can scares without being too violent or gory. In fact, there is very little violence at all in the story, which grasps you from the beginning. It is also full of other things that could potentially carry a movie by themsleves, the performances are that good. The psychology, which could really slow down another movie, works here, only creating more suspense as the audience tries to figure out what Irena is afraid of, and why she does not want to be kissed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2010
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The cat woman is doomed, and, what's more, she knows it--on account of her affliction in this film noir classic. Because she knows she's doomed, she becomes sexually repressed. If for no other reasons, disregarding its sexual suppression aspects, "Cat People" is a brilliant, scary, though understated, film because of two outstanding creepy scenes.<BR/><BR/>The first occurs when the cat woman stalks another woman down a deserted, silent street in the dead of night. The only sounds we hear are the clicking of the jeopardized woman's heels echoing through the night. At first, the cat woman's heels, too, can be heard following the targeted woman, but then, ominously, as the cat woman becomes more and more catlike, the sound of her clacking heels disappears. The eerie scene ends when a bus screams to a halt next to the woman as she looks upward and sees branches shaking above her head as if an animal is climbing the tree nearby. This scene harks back to a similar scene in "The Leopard Man," another excellent film directed by Jacques Tourneur and produced by Val Lewton. <BR/><BR/>The other masterful eldritch scene in "Cat People" involves the same woman as she is again stalked by the cat woman, this time as the woman swims in an indoor swimming pool in dim light, surrounded by foreboding, looming shadows as they play fitfully over the lapping water and along the gym room's walls. Instead of the clacking heels in the aforementioned scene, we can hear only the swimming woman's forlorn paddling in the pool, echoing tinnnily across the swimming-pool water around her and then off the walls into shrieking quiet. And we can feel it in our very bones that the cat woman is preparing to attack . . . <BR/><BR/>--Bryan Cassiday, author of "Fete of Death"
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