"I just wrote a review for "The Two Mrs. Carrolls" mentioning "Curse" as a deleted title. Apparently it's not; cos' here it is. Why did I talk about "Mrs. Carrolls" ?. -Well, that one also features the superb Ann Carter. She's perfect here; they could not have found a better actress. She's in nearly every scene (not surprisingly since the film's really about her), and completely steals the show from all the adults. Jane Randolph and Kent Smith (as the parents) reprise their roles from "Cat People", but they're merely shadows here. Simone Simon returns from the grave, to play with the lonely and isolated little Amy. Lewton regular Elizabeth Russell was also in "Cat People", but in a different part apparently. -Although that character was never really explained, so I suppose somehow it could actually be the same character; out to "curse" again. (I know it's probably not the case, but think about it; it's not impossible). Whatever, this is one eerie and spooky movie. It's filled with memorable, and atmospheric scenes. I love it. Actually, it's not just a Horror film, but a touching and moving story about a misunderstood child. And if it weren't for that misplaced title, I'm sure more people would see it. I highly recommend it anyway, you won't be disappointed if you're into the good old style of movie-making. Actually, I think TV should show it every year around christmas; please demand it and make it a tradition wherever you can. -It's not just a wonderful movie which will suit the season, there's a message in it as well: listen to children with invisible playmates. Oh, I almost forgot; it also features the brilliant Sir Lancelot. See it ! ."
Atmospheric and Touching Sequel to the Classic Horror Film
B. M. Banzon | California USA | 08/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'Cat People' is a horror film. 'The Curse of the Cat People' is a fantasy, an exploration of a child's imagination. The first film focused on Oliver Reed (Kent Smith), who marries a woman named Irena. Irena is cursed with the supernatural ability to turn into a cat when angered. This deadly ability causes the detoriation of her happy marriage, the death of a man, as well as hers. This movie begins years after the first, Oliver is now married and has a six-year old daughter named Amy. Her imagination and belief in the fantastic triggers her fathers memories of Irena and her "mental delusion," as it is addressed in this film. We are left to ponder whether Irena really was cursed, or whether it was just a mental delusion of hers. Oliver does everything to suppress his daughter's fertile imagination, but this only causes the alienation of Oliver from his daughter. This is when Amy calls for a friend, and she gets one in the form of Irena (Simone Simon). Is it Divine intervention? Or is it all in Amy's imagination?'The Curse of the Cat People' is a touching and ethereal film. Great directing, well-built suspense, chilling atmosphere, wonderful script, great acting (especially from the young girl), and unforgettable and haunting visuals (Irena caroling in the distance, Amy at Sleepy Hollow, etc.) This film has nothing to do with cats, or cat people. It never specifies the "mental delusion" Irena Reed had in the first film. The title is very misleading. Great movie."
Between the Shadows
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 06/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Producer Val Lewton was forced to work with a small budget during his time with RKO, but faced with financial contraints and lack of star power, he hooked up with director Jacques Tourneur to create several horror films that many decades later are still considered the finest ever made in the genre. "Cat People" is one of those films. While "Curse of the Cat People" often gets lumped with these horror classics, this Robert Wise directed film is more fantasy and mood than horror.
Both Kent Smith and Jane Randolph return in this quasi-sequel but it is young Ann Carter as their daughter Amy who is at the center of this film. The memory of the tormented Irena hovers over every frame. Once again Simone Simon becomes a presence in the life of Reed when his young daughter Amy begins to retreat into a world of her own. But it may be more than mere fantasy despite her loving father's refusal to believe.
There is almost a magical and somewhat haunting feel to this exploration of a child's mind and what is real and what is not. Just as in "Cat People" where you ached to believe in the curse surrounding Irena (Simone Simon), Lewton and Wise create a bridge between Amy's imagination and Irena's presence we want desperately to believe in. This is a very special film with a mood unlike the horror films Lewton made. It stands on its own, however, and should not be dismissed.
A far different creature entirely is the original "Cat People." Lewton and Tourneur let the imagination of the viewer make up the horror, as everything is in the unseen. It was a device they would use in several films and it always worked. Lewton and Tourneur new that what we could imagine in our minds through cinematic suggestion was far worse than anything they could graphically show on screen.
Simone Simon, small and elegant, is perfect as the sweet Yugoslavian girl Irena Dubrovna, living in New York City and trying to fit in. Even after she meets and marries Oliver (Kent Smith) there is a shadow on her life which stands eerily between the happiness she desires and the curse she feels inside her.
A scene in a restaurant when "one of her own kind" recognizes the panther inside her is particularly unsettleing. Tom Conway is the doctor who tries to help and Jane Randolph has a nice part as Oliver's friend Alice. As Irene wrestles with her fear, Oliver begins to confide in Alice and it becomes obvious to Irena that there could be more. Irena's jealously may awaken the panther inside her and put all their lives in danger.
A film that is full of atmosphere and dripping with doom, there are some genuinely scary moments here. A scene late at night as Irena walks alone down the street, and a terrifying scene by a pool are both legendary. Simone Simon brought a fragile, and yes, cat like grace to the role. Tourneur lets the audience sense her fear and feel sorry for her tortured soul.
Both these films, while quite different in tone and with a distinctly different atmosphere, are excellent examples of how great cinema can become when it is stripped bare of pretension and forced to use story and filmmaking technique to capture its audience.
Watch "Curse of the Cat People" and enjoy it for the film it is rather than what it is not. As for the original "Cat People," watch this one late at night, but by all means, do not watch it alone!"
Forget the Title and Enjoy the Movie
Richard Cody | Oakland, The Golden State | 12/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As others here have noted, and as anyone who has seen this wonderful film is aware, the title (meant by the studio to cash in on producer Val Lewton's and writer Dewitt Bodeen's earlier success, "Cat People") is misleading, exploitive and wildly inappropriate.While this is a tenuous sequel to "Cat People", the 1942 tale of sexual awakening/fear, the only real connection it has to that movie is the lurid title and a few characters. Occuring some years after the events of the first film, "Curse of the Cat People" finds introverted young Amy (played with wide eyed perfection by Ann Carter) discovering that the fantasy world she inhabits does not meet the approval of her parents (Kent Smith and Jane Randolph from the first movie) because she spends too much time alone and, in fact, that it sometimes clashes with the real world - as when she attempts to deliver birthday party invitations via a magic tree rather than a post box.Relations with her concerned (and, I think, narrow minded) father do not improve when Amy makes a new "imaginary" friend of his dead first wife (the otherworldly Simone Simon, killed in the first movie). She also befriends an aged former actress (Julia Dean) while simultaneously gaining the resentment of the old lady's smoldering, alienated daughter (Elizabeth Russell). This is not a horror film in any sense (except for the horrible title, of course), but more a magical realist coming of age story. A sense of suspense and wonder permeates the film, thanks to producer Val Lewton's celebrated use of light and shadow and the brisk direction of Robert Wise (his directorial debut if I'm not mistaken) and Gunther von Fritsch. Not a horror movie, I repeat, but without doubt one of the best films about the wonders and terrors of childhood ever produced."
Twice The Cat-nip...
Bindy Sue FrÝnkŁnschtein | under the rubble | 10/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oliver Reed (Kent Smith) was strolling through the zoo, minding his own business, when suddenly, there she was, sketching a black panther! Her name was Irena (Simone Simon). Oliver was immediately captivated by her, unable to think of anything / anyone else. What was it about this shy young girl? What secrets floated behind those eyes? Oliver soon married Irena. That's when the trouble began. CAT PEOPLE is Tourneur's masterwork of love, longing, guilt, and fear. Irena is a tragic figure, doomed by her own inner terrors and torments. Oliver loves her, but cannot understand Irena's beliefs or her obsessive dread over consummating their marriage. Does she really believe that she'll turn into a cat? How can she think this way and still be sane? Enter Dr. Judd (Tom "I Walked With A Zombie" Conway), a psychiatrist who sees Irena. He figures that it's all in her head. Is it? Oliver turns to his friend, Alice (Jane Randolph) for solice. Irena is suspicious and reveals who / what she truly is. This is one of those movies that uses strong characters and atmosphere to build suspense and tell the story. Irena is unforgettable! CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE takes place four years after Irena's final trip to the panther cage. Oliver and Alice are married and have a daughter. The little girl is very imaginative and has a "friend" that no one else can see. She meets an old woman who lives in a big house. The two are fast friends, causing great pain for the woman's own alienated daughter. Oliver is increasingly worried about his daughter's fantasy life, especially when she tells him that her invisible friend's name is Irena! I like this one a lot. Instead of being a typical sequel full of rushed ideas and hollywood garbage, COTCP is completely different in both storyline and approach. It's more of a ghost story through the eyes of a child. This double bill is well worth owning. Each film is a classic..."