Best Movies by Farr
Cat People Poster
Released Runtime Category
1942 73 Romance, Horror
Director Language
Jacques Tourneur English
Kent Smith, Simone Simon, Tom Conway, Jane Randolph, Jack Holt

Cat People

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What's it About

In front of the panther cage at the Central Park Zoo, Serbian sketch artist Irena (Simon) meets Oliver (Smith). They court and marry, despite Irena’s crippling fears about an ancient family curse; she seems to believe that some deep-buried evil in her is just waiting to be ignited. Oliver and his comely office colleague Alice (Randolph) convince Irena to see a therapist (Conway). But Irena has grown jealous and can no longer control her animal instincts. Watch out!

Why we love it

This low budget B horror movie was the first of many produced by Val Lewton. Made for under $150,000, it went on to earn over $4 million for RKO. Forced to recycle sets (including one from “The Magnificent Ambersons”) and skimp on special effects, the chills are heightened by inventive use of shadows and suggestive sounds, especially in the infamous nighttime pool scene. Simon, with her feline smirk, beautifully embodies the duality of Irena. Director Tourneur would go on to make the noir “Out of the Past”, but this earlier feature remains a masterpiece of creepy, psychosexual mood cinema.

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"