Tuesday, September 25, 2018

favorite movie #54 and art in film: cat people

Favorite movies that have had an impact on me - #53 - Cat People (1942) - Jacques Tourneur directed and Val Lewton produced this horror classic. Simone Simon stars as Irena Dubrovna, a young artist who meets and marries architect Oliver Reed (Kent Smith). Irena is deeply troubled about her past — she believes her people come from a long line of cat women — who prey on their lovers. Oliver can only see that she is beautiful, and he wants to be with her. His co-worker Alice, who is not-so-secretly in love with him, waits patiently for Oliver to give up on his mysterious young wife. Psychiatrist Dr. Judd doesn't believe that Irena is a cat, but an extremely beautiful woman that he desires. What makes this love quadrangle stand out is Tourneur's superbly subtle direction. The horror is implied, but never overtly seen, in a series of wonderful, moodily-shot set pieces — Alice crossing the park and swimming in a pool in the dark, a catlike woman greeting Irena as "moya sestra" on her wedding day, Irena causing havoc in a pet store. Simon turns in a emotional performance as the tormented heroine. Irena being an artist adds to her outsider status. She sketches the big cats at the zoo obsessively, is haunted by a sculpture portraying a myth from the old country, and feels alienated and isolated when Oliver and Alice thoughtlessly ignore her during a trip to a museum. A classic film not to be missed.

Oliver (Kent Smith) meets Irena at the zoo
Irena shows a sketch to Alice (Jane Randolph)
Elizabeth Russell at the "cat woman" in the restaurant

Irena pauses under Goya's painting of& Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga (1784–1792), in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Dr. Judd (Tom Conway) "counsels" Irena 


favorite movie #9: the seventh victim
these are a few of my favorite things . . .
cinema village


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