Cat People (1942)

Cat People poster

RKO Radio Pictures
Starring:
 Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Tom Conway, Jane Randolph
Directed by: Jacques Tourneur

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains some spoilers for this film!

Synopsis: Irena Dubrovna (Simone Simon) is a Serbian immigrant who meets ship-designer Oliver Reed (Kent Smith).  They have an immediate attraction and eventually get married, but Irena is reluctant to allow herself to be passionate with her husband for fear that an ancient curse which plagues her people will come to fruition.  He tries to be patient with his reluctant wife but turns more and more to his co-worker Alice Moore (Jane Randolph) which sparks intense jealousy from Irena and may cause the curse to come to pass anyway.

Featured Felines: There are three notable cats in this film (besides the black panthers, of course.)  The first is a gorgeous Siamese kitten which Oliver buys for Irena.  The kitten gets along famously with Alice but hisses angrily when near Irena.  Irena explains that cats don’t like her very much and so she and Oliver return the kitten to the pet store (where all of the animals go crazy in Irena’s presence, including a cage full of kittens.)

Cat People siamese kitten hiss

The second cat appears to be an orange tabby which is in the office late one night while Alice is working.  Alice refers to this cat by its name, John Paul Jones (which makes sense since they work for a ship designing firm.)

Cat People orange cat in office

And finally an adorable black kitten is sitting on the reception desk when Alice asks for a key to the swimming pool.  The kitten follows her down to the pool.  Alice notices it meowing after she has changed into her bathing suit, when suddenly the kitten reacts violently to something and then runs away.  This leads to one of the most suspenseful moments of the film.  There are also images of cats throughout the movie as well.

Cat People black kitten hiss

Final Mewsings: As the pet store owner states, “You can’t fool a cat.”


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