Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Curse Of The Cat People (1944)

Starring Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph, Ann Carter, Eve March
Directed by Gunther V. Fritsch & Robert Wise
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

The lonely young daughter of Oliver and Alice Reed takes on an imaginary friend who appears to her in the form of Irena, Reed's ill-fated first wife.

Although a sequel to the 1942 horror classic Cat People, and returning Simon, Smith, and Randolph, there are no references to Simon's curse from the first film, and the focus is on the screenplay's childhood drama, brought to vivid life in a believable performance by young Ann Carter.  That's not to say there aren't dark moments or fantasy elements, with the film set in the legendary Sleepy Hollow, and Simon's appearances well captured through Nicholas Musuraca's excellent photography. Part of me is regretful that producer Val Lewton didn't see fit to crafting a more direct horror sequel to Cat People, but what he's brought to us instead deserves many accolades as a finely etched portrait of a child's imaginative spirit.  Another plus is the performance of calypso singer and RKO contract player Sir Lancelot, who has one of his most charming roles for the studio as the Reeds' kindly housekeeper.

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