Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Curse of the Cat People (1944)

According to the screenwriter DeWitt Bodeen, producer Val Lewton wanted to call this film "Amy and Her Friend."  However, RKO executives insisted on using the "Cat People" name to attract fans of the original Cat People (1942), which had been an enormous box office success made with a very low budget.  The result is a sequel that is, well not exactly a sequel.  Simone Simon is back as Irena, only this time she is a ghost.  Kent Smith is also back as Oliver Reed, who is now remarried and is the father of the imaginative Amy Reed played extremely well by child actor Ann Carter.  The only continuity between these two films is the appearance of Simon and Smith.  Curse of the Cat People has its own agenda and its own story line and should be really be judged on its own merits.
Personally, I really enjoyed the film as a nicely done, low key supernatural thriller that beautifully explores the world of a child's imagination.  My favorite line in the film occurs early on when Amy's school teacher remarks, "Amy is a nice girl...only a little different."  What a fantastic line.  Love it!  If you need lots of action you'll be terribly bored with this film.  There is very little thrill in this thriller, however, that does not mean it's a poorly made movie.  In fact, it is very good in terms of acting, script and cinematography.  Lewton knew how to make beautiful films on a shoestring budget.  It is one of the reason why I appreciate his talent as a producer.  
If you need severed heads and buckets of blood to keep you entertained, then you might want to skip this one.  However, if you like well made vintage movies of all sorts, then this one might just fit the bill.  I preferred the original over the sequel but I cannot deny that Curse of the Cat People is a nicely made movie.
Rating: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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