Cat People 1942 Criterion Collection
In 1942, an enterprising young producer named Val Lewton was named the head of horror at RKO studios. He was given three simple rules to follow: all of his movies had to be made for less than $150,000, they could only run 75 minutes and the titles would be supplied by the studio. Finding creative ways to work under these restrictions, Lewton become an icon of the genre. His first (and arguably, best) RKO horror feature was Cat People, in which he teamed with director Jacques Tournier to create an atypically subtle, elegant piece of psychological horror.
The tale begins as a simple romance. Serbian-born fashion designer Irena Dubrovna (Simone Simon) and engineer Oliver Reed (Kent Smith) meet at the Central Park Zoo in New York City, where Irena is drawing a sketch of the zoo’s black panther (an animal she finds strangely fascinating). They have a pleasant conversation, share an afternoon tea, make arrangements to have dinner together and soon find themselves head over heels in love.
Irena tells Oliver a dark story about her ancestors turning to witchcraft and Satanism, and eventually reveals that she believes an ancient curse has been placed upon her. Irena believes that if she ever dares to indulge her romantic passions, she will turn into a panther and try to kill the person she loves. But Oliver ignores the superstitious warning and assures her that they will have a beautiful life together...

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Cast: Simone Simon, Tom Conway, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph, Jack Holt
Country: USA
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Thriller


Commentary - Audio Commentary with Film Historian Gregory Mank. Home Entertainment. It was recorded in 2005. This is a wonderful, extremely informative commentary with an abundance of factual information about the history of RKO, Jacques Tourneur, and producer Val Lewton. (Gregory Mank also deconstructs various key scenes from the film). Also included in the commentary are short excerpts from an interview with actress Simone Simon.

Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows (2008) - this documentary film, written and directed by Kent Jones, takes a closer look at the life and legacy of the great producer Val Lewton. The documentary is presented and narrated by acclaimed director Martin Scorsese. In English, not subtitled. (77 min).

John Bailey - in this brand new featurette, cinematographer John Bailey (Paul Schrader's Cat People, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters) discusses the visual style of the original Cat People film (with some excellent comments about the management of light and shadow), cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca's legacy and the qualities that defined his work, the studio system during the early 1940s, the evolution of the noir genre and the important work of cinematographer John Alton (The Big Combo, He Walked By Night), the notorious pool scene and how its visual design compares to the same scene in Paul Schrader's film, etc. The featurette was created exclusively for Criterion in 2016. In English, not subtitled. (17 min).

Cine regards - presented here is an archival episode of the French television program Cine regards in which dierctor Jacques Tournier discusses his life, move to America, and career in the film industry. The interview was conducted in the director's home in Bergerac in May 1977. In French, with optional English subtitles. (27 min).

Trailer - original trailer for Cat People. In English, not subtitled. (2 min).

BD50 + 2xDVD | 1080p AVC, NTSC 4:3 | 01:12:55 | 44.4 Gb + 10.1 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English

Related posts:

  1. The Val Lewton Horror Collection: Cat People (1942), The Curse of the Cat People (1944), The Leopard Man (1943), The Ghost Ship (1943), I Walked with a Zombie (1943), The Body Snatcher (1945), Isle of the Dead (1945), Bedlam (1946), The Seventh Victim (1943), Shadows in the Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy (2005) 5 x DVD9
  2. Woman of the Year (1942) 2 x DVD9 and Blu-Ray Criterion Collection
  3. Godzilla / Gojira (1954), Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956) 2 x DVD9, Blu-Ray Criterion Collection
  4. The Brood (1979), Crimes of the Future (1970) 2 x DVD9 and Blu-Ray Criterion Collection
  5. Island of Lost Souls / The Island of Dr. Moreau (1932) DVD9 and Blu-Ray Criterion Collection and Eureka! Masters of Cinema