Cat People

1942 Meow Mix commercial

Rating: 17/20

Plot: A horny guy marries an immigrant who may or may not be a cat. Person. Cat person. He realizes soon after their wedding day that she has no interest in sleeping with him and decides to hook up with his secretary. The wife, already stressed out because she thinks she's a cat, finds out. Cat fight!

Jacques Tourneur's films are stylish but not overtly or extravagantly stylish. This is a quiet Tourneur movie like I Walked with a Zombie, meaning it doesn't have a big goofy demon like or Night of the Beast a big Robert Mitchum like Out of the Past. What it shares with those movies is Tourneur's good eye. The visuals don't pop, and there's nothing in this movie that you could describe as flashy, but I really like how shadows and light (especially shadows) are used to frame the titular Cat Person. The great-named Simone Simon plays her, and I liked her accent in her face, not necessarily in that order, in this. Like the direction, her performance is quiet, and she plays desperate very well. The dialogue's really good for a 1940's semi-horror film, too, but it's the simple style that really makes this a winner. It's a sneaky non-style where the director's making it look so easy, but this is stuffed with some terrific scenes--the pool scene, the pet shop scene, some shots at a museum and in the guy's office. Mysterious and quietly haunting.

1 comment:

cory said...

I saw this a long time ago (25+ years), but I remember Simon being very good in a mysterious role, and the film having great atmosphere. A 16.