Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cat People Review

Cat People.

Simone Simon as Irena Dubrovna Reed
Kent Smith as Oliver Reed
Tom Conway as Dr. Louis Judd
Jane Randolph as Alice Moore
Jack Holt as The Commodore
Elizabeth Russell as The Cat Woman
Alan Napier as Doc Carver
Theresa Harris as Minnie, waitress at Sally Lunds café
Elizabeth Dunn as Miss Plunkett, pet shop owner
Mary Halsey as Blondie, apartment house desk clerk

How do you succeed in making a suspense movie with an insignificant budget? Well, according to the director of Cat People Jacques Tourneur, you imply everything. There is no fancy special effect, no atrociously long ten minutes sequences of transformation, just the shadow of a feline, or the eyes of a woman. The art of successfully imply fear through shadow and light is mastered by Jacques Tourneur and his acolytes. Though we have now been used to so much more gore and special effects, the primitive fear and simple effects are enough to surprise you even while looking at it with the disdain born of expensive technological tricks. Some scenes have even entered the cinema jargon. The “bus” sequence, where Alice is walking along Central Park followed by Irena, when a bus suddenly pops onto the screen and shocks the viewer by its suddenness, has become a trademark for these kind of scenes now called bus scenes.

This film does not hide its strong sexual connotation, its actresses really playing the role of highly seducing women. Irina who plays around with her shrouded past and esoteric home seduces a young New Yorker, Oliver, who decides to marry her though she is highly reluctant to induce herself in any type of sexual acts, by fear of some old legend. This legend says that if she did, she would kill her companion in strange fit of feline fury.

Her attitude does not change, which annoys Oliver greatly who decides to get a divorce, starting a relationship with Alice, a coworker. This enrages Irina who stalks Alice and almost kills her. The film plays a lot around the conflict between the two women, trying to show their lust for men, while one can the other cannot. An amazing film, film noir, who saved its production studio from bankruptcy Cat people is a master piece of dark manipulation of the audience through, camera effects and colour.

No comments: