Δευτέρα, 12 Νοεμβρίου 2012

Cat people (Jacques Tourneur, 1942)


Cat People “I like the dark is so friendly”






Val Lewton in 1930 published a short story with the title “The Baghette”. The story is about a girl who believes that she belongs to a special kid of people who can transform into cats.

In 1942, twelve years after the initial publishing of the story, the story was adapted by De Witt Bodeen for the silver screen and Val Lewton was offered the change to produce a film based on De Witt’s screenplay.  Actually, the film Cat People it is not just a good film it’s one of the most significant works of horror cinema.
Director of Photography in film “Cat People” is Nicholas Musuraca, the soundtrack of the film was composed by Roy Webb and it the film was edited by Mark Robson.
The film “Cat People” was distributed by RKO Pictures and it was a huge box office success. According to financial data the ”Cat People” film crossed about $ 4 million and it’s production and distribution planet was about $ 134.000. The ratio of sales / production cost is about 29, 8 and it is among the most attractive in film business.


The Cast of Cat People




The main female character is Dubrova Reed and her part was performed by Simone Simon. The main male character Oliver Reed is played by Kent Smith. Also in film participate Tom Conway as Dr. Louis Judd, Jane Randolph plays the part of The Cammrode and finally participate in film Elizabeth Rusell, Alan Napier, Theresa Hains, May Hasley and Elizabeth Dunn.

The plot structure of Cat People



The Serbian born fashion designer Irena Dubrova (Simone Simon) draws sketches of a black panther. She attacks the interest of a marine engineer Oliver Reed, who starts a conversation with her. Irena invites Oliver to her apartment, Oliver likes the statue of a medieval warrior on horseback impaling a large cat with a sword. Irena informs Oliver that the statue figure is King John of Serbia and the cat represents evil.  According to Serbian legends, centuries ago the Christain residents of her home village in Serbia, turned their faith from Christianity to witchcraft or devil worship during their enslaving by the Mamelukes. During the war against Mamelukes, King John of Serbia drove his enemies out of the village and saw what her village residence had become and decided to kill all Satan believers. But a small number of village residents “the wisest and the most wicked” according to legend escaped into the mountains.

Later, Oliver will buy her a kitten but upon their meetings, kitten attacks her. They go to a pet shop to exchange it but as they enter into the shop the animals go wild in her presence. The pet shop owner comments that animals can sense things about people.

Day by day Irena believes that she is descend  from the Satan believers of her home village in Serbia.  Irena fears that she will transform into a panther when her passion arises. She remembers from her childhood when other children  called her mother a cat person and the mysterious death of hers father

Despite all the above incidents, Oliver marries Irena. Few days after their wedding at a Serbian restaurant a woman walks over ans asks Irena if she is “moja cetra” (my sister). This incident created anxiety and fear to Irena.  Their marriage is ready to be destroyed, Irena denies to sleep with her husband. Oliver persuades her to visit a psychiatrist. Dr Judd tries to convince Irean that there is no reason to worry. Oliver has spoken to her attractive assistant about their marriage problems.

Oliver starts a relationship with his beautiful assistant Alice Moore. Irena sees her husband Oliver with Alice seated together at a restaurant. Irena follows Alice as she walks home alone  through one of the Central Park’s pathways. Irena is walking behind Alice. Alice becomes increasingly uneasy. She’s feeling that something is behind her.  She hears a menacing sound a bus pulls up, and she hastily bouds it. Soon after, several sheeps are killed. There are paw paths with blood and away turn into imprints of a woman’s shoes.

After hours later Alice is taking a dip in the basement swimming pool, she sees the shadow of an animal and she fears. Alice, jumps into the pool, using the water to keep creature at bay. Alce screams for help, Irena turns on the lights and claims that she was looking for Oliver.

Alice is not sure, she believes that she has imagined the whole thing, but she convinced only when she finds her robe torn to shreds.

Finally Irena will announce to her husband that she doesn’t fear anymore. Unfortunately, for her Oliver has decided to take divorce and to marry Alice.
     

to be continued

You can see on the following video (youtube) the classic pool scene from the film “Cat people”






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