Posts Tagged ‘simone simon’

The Curse of the Cat People

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Released – March, 1944 

Directed By – Gunther von Fritsch, Robert Wise

Starring – Simone Simon (Ghost of Irena), Kent Smith (Oliver ‘Ollie’ Reed), Jane Randolph (Alice Reed), Ann Carter (Amy Reed).

Description – The Black Menace Creeps Again!

Although having many of the same characters this is mostly an unrelated sequel to the original Cat People.

After the death of his wife Irena (the original cat woman) Oliver Reed has remarried former co-worker Alice Moore. The couple have a six-year-old daughter named Amy. Amy is a troubled child who has a difficult time telling fantasy from reality. She also has an imaginary friend – her father’s deceased first wife Irena.

Amy also meets and befriends aging actress Julia Farren who may also be a cat woman. Amy’s imaginary friend along with her meeting with Julia surely must be more than just coincidence.

NOTABLE: The Curse of the Cat People was produced with a very small budget and some of the sets used were from Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons.

The original Cat People was an enormous success and although this story has little to do with the original, Columbia discounted producer Val Lewton’s original title ‘Amy and her Friend’ in order to capitalize on the original films popularity.

Personal Note: Considered a film in the horror genre, The Curse of the Cat People is more of an atmospheric, moody story about a lonely little girl who is, at first, befriended and ultimately haunted by spirits.

Cat People

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Released – December, 1942 

Directed By – Jacques Tourneur

Starring – Simone Simon (Irena Dubrovna Reed), Kent Smith (Oliver Reed), Tom Conway (Dr. Louis Judd), Jane Randolph (Alice Moore), Jack Holt (The Commodore).

Description – The exciting story of a woman who kills the thing she loves!

While at the zoo Serbian-born fashion designer Irena Dubrovna meets marine engineer Oliver Reed who she invites to her apartment for tea. During their conversation, Irena tells Oliver a strange story of her heritage that involves witchcraft and devil worship.

Irena believes she is a descendant of a cursed people with a strange connection to a panther. While growing up her father had died mysteriously and her mother was called “the cat person.”

In spite of these stories, Oliver asks Irena to marry him and she accepts. While celebrating their engagement at a Serbian restaurant, a woman closely resembling a cat approaches and asks Irena is she is “her sister.” This fuels Irena’s fear of the cat curse.

After the marriage, Irena tries to avoid sleeping with her husband as the curse is said to manifest itself by her turning into a panther should she be aroused to passion.

Oliver pursuades Irena to see a psychiatrist and begins to confide his marital problems with his beautiful assistant Alice Moore.

Adding another woman to an already cursed relationship can only lead to tragedy.

NOTABLE: In 1993 this film was added for preservation to the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Cat People cost RKO Radio Pictures just over $140,000 to make and earned over $4 million, reportedly saving the studio from financial ruin.

The film was such a box office hit that many critics who had originally posted bad reviews took the opportunity to view it again and issued positive follow-up.