Jacques Tourneur

Cat People

Cat People

The first of the horror films producer Val Lewton made for RKO Pictures redefined the genre by leaving its most frightening terrors to its audience’s imagination. Simone Simon stars as a Serbian émigré in Manhattan who believes that, because of an ancient curse, any physical intimacy with the man she loves (Kent Smith) will turn her into a feline predator. Lewton, a consummate producer-auteur who oversaw every aspect of his projects, found an ideal director in Jacques Tourneur, a chiaroscuro stylist adept at keeping viewers off-kilter with startling compositions and psychological innuendo. Together, they eschewed the canned effects of earlier monster movies in favor of shocking with subtle shadows and creative audio cues. One of the studio’s most successful movies of the 1940s, Cat People raised the creature feature to new heights of sophistication and mystery. 

Film Info

  • Jacques Tourneur
  • United States
  • 1942
  • 73 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.37:1
  • English
  • Spine #833

Special Features

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2005 featuring film historian Gregory Mank, with excerpts from an audio interview with actor Simone Simon
  • Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows, a 2008 feature-length documentary that explores the life and career of the legendary Hollywood producer
  • Interview with director Jacques Tourneur from 1979
  • New interview with cinematographer John Bailey about the look of the film
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien

New cover by Bill Sienkiewicz

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2005 featuring film historian Gregory Mank, with excerpts from an audio interview with actor Simone Simon
  • Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows, a 2008 feature-length documentary that explores the life and career of the legendary Hollywood producer
  • Interview with director Jacques Tourneur from 1979
  • New interview with cinematographer John Bailey about the look of the film
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien

New cover by Bill Sienkiewicz

Cat People
Cast
Simone Simon
Irena Dubrovna
Kent Smith
Oliver Reed
Jane Randolph
Alice Moore
Tom Conway
Dr. Louis Judd
Alan Napier
Doc Carver
Jack Holt
Commodore
Elizabeth Russell
Cat woman
Theresa Harris
Minnie
Elizabeth Dunne
Mrs. Plunkett
Mary Halsey
Blondie
Alec Craig
Zookeeper
Dot Farley
Mrs. Agnew
Credits
Director
Jacques Tourneur
Produced by
Val Lewton
Screenplay by
DeWitt Bodeen
Director of photography
Nicholas Musuraca
Art directors
Walter E. Keller
Art directors
Albert S. D'Agostino
Music by
Roy Webb
Musical direction
Constantin Bakaleinikoff
Editor
Mark Robson
Costumes designed by
Renié

From The Current

Jacques Tourneur on Val Lewton and Cinematic Escapism
Jacques Tourneur on Val Lewton and Cinematic Escapism

In this 1979 French television interview, the Cat People director discusses Lewton’s creative idealism and the impact it had on his own pragmatic sensibility.

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Cat People: Darkness Betrayed
Cat People: Darkness Betrayed

Cloaked in chiaroscuro and innuendo, this stylistically innovative creature feature leaves its greatest horrors to the imagination.

By Geoffrey O’Brien

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Adventures in Moviegoing with Philip Kaufman
Adventures in Moviegoing with Philip Kaufman

The Oscar-nominated director of The Right Stuff talks about some of his formative cinematic experiences in the latest episode of Adventures in Moviegoing.

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