Cat People
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Handed the exploitive title Cat People, RKO producer Val Lewton opted for a thinking man's thriller--a psychological mood piece, more reliant on suspense and suggestion than overt "scare stuff". Simone Simon plays an enigmatic young fashion artist who is curiously affected by the panther cage at the central park zoo. She falls in love with handsome Kent Smith, but loses him to Jane Randolph. After a chance confrontation with a bizarre stranger at a restaurant, Simon becomes obsessed with the notion that she's a Cat Woman--a member of an ancient Serbian tribe that… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"This is a weird drama of thrill-chill caliber."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"First in the wondrous series of B movies in which Val Lewton elaborated his principle of horrors imagined rather than seen, with a superbly judged performance from Simon."
‑ Tom Milne, Time Out
"Produced by Val Lewton and directed by the great Jacques Tourneur, this was one of the first Hollywood horrors to play on the audience's fears rather than expose it to ghouls and monsters."
‑ David Parkinson, Radio Times
"Tourneur splendidly visualizes immigrant dislocation and marital anxiety as spiritual states suspended between planes of light and shadow"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"In its complexity, it functions as a sharp, canny blueprint for the rest of Lewton's pictures."
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"Cat People wasn't frightening like a slasher movie, using shocks and gore, but frightening in an eerie, mysterious way that was hard to define; the screen harbored unseen threats."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Ladies who have such temptations -- in straight horror pictures, at least -- should exercise their digits a bit more freely than does Simone Simon in this film."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"[Demonstrates] the enduring power of imagined horror in everyday-life situations."
‑ , Total Film
"Based on a deceptively simple story, this understated but scary horror film benefits from the collaboration of producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur and the touching performance from Simone Simon"
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
‑ Cole Smithey,
"More a film about unreasoning fear than the supernatural, this work demonstrates what a filmmaker can accomplish when he substitutes taste and intelligence for special effects."
‑ Don Druker, Chicago Reader
"Val Lewton's most brilliant and subtly sexual horror films ever made."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"The scariest American horror movie of the 1940s."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"Unpleasant film argues we should be afraid of people who are different."
‑ Michael E. Grost, Classic Film and Television
"ts techniques would be adopted by noir, its themes are aped by horror films and thrillers today."
‑ , Film4
More reviews for Cat People on Rotten Tomatoes