Cat People (1942)
Directed by: Jacques Tourneur
Written by: DeWitt Bodeen
Starring: Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph, Tom Conway
Another one of those Val Lewton produced semi-horror flicks from the '40s. Most of them are widely regarded as some of the best horror flicks ever. I didn't think too much of I Walked with a Zombie, but this one was pretty good. It was bizarre, but interesting, and a better werewolf movie (yes, this counts as a werewolf movie. I should probably say werecat, though) than The Wolf Man.
Wolf Man had more horror in it, and better transformation FX. It showed a lot more. However, Simone Simon is a bit better than Junior, and the lack of graphic terror (well, graphic for the day) is sort of better.
It's about a young Serbian woman (that was a little weird. I thought she was French, but okay) who falls in love with this American guy. Unfortunately, she's one of the legendary Cat Women of the Serbian mountains, who have a tendency to kill their lovers. American Guy decides she's crazy and sends her to a rather slutty psychiatrist while he fools around with his co-worker and true love. Cat Woman don't like that too much, and attempts to kill the boring all American girlie.
Oddly enough, I was actually interested in what was going on. Irena (the werecat) was kind of appealing in a weird way. She had levels, and I sort of liked her, even though she was on the psychotic side. I thought everything she did was perfectly justified.
Yeah, I thought American Guy (who looked distressingly like Liev Schreiber. He didn't have the oh, so sexy voice, though. Simone Simon looked a lot like Reese Witherspoon, too) was a total dweeb, and American Girl deserved to drown in that damn pool, and the Slutty Psychiatrist was a little too... well... slutty, but that was okay. I liked Catwoman.
But enough about that. The whole thing looked pretty good, some nice use of shadows, particularly in the pool scene. Ah, the pool scene. Anyway, it was all very moody and atmospheric. Mind you, nothing HAPPENS in the entire movie, but I didn't mind. I liked the character enough so that I wasn't really paying attention to that.
Yeah... Anyway, I en't seen the remake yet, but I can see the potential in this one. It sort of got me, in a weird way.
So I guess I tolerated the overwhelming dullness of Jane Randolph and Kent Smith (whose character was named Oliver Reed. How weird is that?). Yeah, Tom Conway was slutty but I kind of liked him. He's a funny little man, with a funny little mustache (which I have, of course, already mentioned in my review of I Walked with a Zombie, in which he played... Mr. Rochester, I guess (fear my merciless plugging of my own product)).
I liked very much. I think Cat People are actually a bit more interesting than werewolves, I'm sorry. Poor old werewolves. They're a little old. I mean, The Fly is probably twice as interesting as some of the sad, self-pitying werewolves out there.