Monday, 24 January 2011

Old movie Madness: Curse of the Cat People (1944)

I have finally gotten round to reviewing the “sequel” to my first Old Movie Madness post, the terrific “Cat People” starring Simone Simon.  I watched this some weeks ago but not wanting to swamp my blog with movies posts I put it to one side.  I’ve decided not to swamp you anyway.

This film shares many cast members, Simon herself as well as Kent Smith and Jane Randolph, playing her former husband (Oliver Reed) and his new wife Alice.

Since the last film the pair have moved away from the city and have a young daughter, Amy (the looks-spookily-like-me-as-a-child Ann Carter) who is having trouble at school due to her dreamy nature.

Oliver is determined that Amy will give up her dreamy ways, which remind him so of his former wife Irina, however the local children will not play with her and her only friend becomes the spirit of Irina who appears to her in their garden.  

Amy also makes friends with an elderly woman living down the road, the woman’s daughter lives with her but the parent claims she is not her daughter but an imposter.  This relationship mirrors Amy’s fears that her parents will not love her if she does not succeed in making friends.

The film, while very watchable, suffers terribly from the decision to market it as a sequel to “Cat People.”  Yes, it shares the same cast but the story has nothing to do with the previous film and could easily have been independent from the previous movie.  In fact this might have done it some favours at the box office as I’m sure I  would have felt somewhat tricked if I went to the cinema expecting feline women slinking around in dark suits and got a little girl in a frilly dress skipping around her garden.

The film was heavily edited to add in cat references to try and please the viewing public and it seems that as a result some key pieces of the storyline were removed – this would account for the disjointed quality of the film.

There is not much to comment on in terms of clothing in the movie, sadly enough.  Irina, when she does appear, seems to be wearing some kind of 40’s take on a Medieval gown and then the rest of the film mostly features children.  I’m not interested in children’s fashion, I hated being one and don’t want any of my own, so this aspect didn’t do a thing for me at all!

All in all I did enjoy it, the acting was just the right side of hammy and the child just creepy enough for me.  Truthfully, there is something very frightening about the way it looks into the darker side of childhood psychology, I could relate a lot to Amy and her problems making friends and I did find this aspect of the film genuinely moving.  It is a film that has stayed with me since I watched it some weeks ago.  Definitely worth a look.


  1. as you know, i am a huge Val Lewton horror fan. what you are saying about how the two films are little related is true. RKO pictures gave Val the movie titles and he had to produce "around" them. But the theme here is the "curse." The little girl was cursed the same as Irina in the sense that they are both living on the fringes of society and so desperately want love and to fit in. However the first Cat people had such a strong sexual element to it; that this childhood saga almost seams ridiculously unrelated. I did really enjoy both movies!

  2. Hey, thanks so much for reviewing all these movies for us! I have just ordered Cat People through Netflix...and look forward to it arriving!

  3. Hi
    I ahve awarded you A Stykish Blogger Award.

    Regards Tallulah May