Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cat Girl (1957)

Starring Barbara Shelley, Robert Ayres, Kay Callard, Ernest Milton, Lily Kann
Directed by Alfred Shaughnessy
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A psychiatrist tries to cure a young woman of the belief that she's inherited her family curse, and is now doomed to stalk and kill human prey in the form of a leopard.

Part horror film, part psychological drama, this is an early showcase for Barbara Shelley, who went on to similar roles in Hammer Films' horror films of the 1960s, and the picture is pretty good in my opinion, although highly derivative of 1942's Cat People.  Shelley gives a fine performance, but I feel the filmmakers could have taken other opportunities to make her seem more catlike.  Those expecting a monster makeup will be disappointed as her character's spirit enters into a leopard rather than becoming one, but the film still has some good suspense to offer and fine black-and-white photography.

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