Cat People

Cat People

Directed by Jacques Tourneur • 1942 • United States
Starring Simone Simon, Kent Smith

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.

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Cat People
  • Cat People

    Directed by Jacques Tourneur • 1942 • United States
    Starring Simone Simon, Kent Smith

    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 Manha...

Extras

  • CAT PEOPLE Edition Intro

  • CAT PEOPLE Commentary

    This audio commentary, recorded in 2005, features film historian Gregory Mank, with excerpts from an audio interview with actor Simone Simon.

  • Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows

    Written and directed by author, filmmaker, and New York Film Festival director Kent Jones, this seventy-seven-minute 2008 documentary, presented and narrated by Martin Scorsese, explores the life and career of the legendary Hollywood producer Val Lewton.

  • “Ciné regards”: Jacques Tourneur, 1977

    For this episode of the French television program “Ciné regards,” CAT PEOPLE director Jacques Tourneur was interviewed at his home in 1977. Tourneur discusses his family, his move to America, and his collaboration with producer Val Lewton.

  • John Bailey on CAT PEOPLE

    In this June 2016 interview, cinematographer John Bailey discusses how director of photography Nicholas Musuraca achieved the look of CAT PEOPLE.

  • Kent Jones on CAT PEOPLE