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|The Leopard Man The Ghost Ship|
The Leopard Man (1943, 66 min.)- Adapted from the Cornell Woolrich novel Black Alibi, The Leopard Man is a lesser but still fascinating psychological-horror effort from producer Val Lewton. Someone has been killing off the... more »
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Nick Tropiano | Havertown, PA United States | 02/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Ghost Ship was even produced because RKO Studio spent a bundle on a ship set for the 1938 A-list flop, Pacific Liner. Since they already had an expensive ship set laying around, they tasked producer Val Lewton to "make use of it"... The film, The Ghost Ship, was the result. Unfortunately, like the crew of the Altair, the film was itself doomed.
I consider this film "right up there" - indeed even surpassing, the producer's other great noir-style psychological "horror" works. It has been largely forgotten for two reasons. First, it was not directed by Jacques Tourner. Rather, it was deftly directed by Mark Robson. Secondly, and more importantly, RKO and Val Lewton pulled it out of release for 50 years after losing a $25,000 lawsuit to playrights Samuel R. Golding and Norbert Faulkner who claimed that the film was based on their unproduced play, "The Man and His Shadow", which they submitted to Lewton for consideration as a possible film.
Thematically, the film reminds me - somewhat, of Heart of Darkness due to its foggy settings and rich visual "black and white" (as opposed to Conrad's written use of these terms as a motif throughout Hear of Darkness) noir-style cinematography with Captain, Will Stone (beautifully portrayed by Richard Dix), like Conrad's Kurtz, having some "issues" handling authority.
Bottom like - "lesser known" (due to its fairly recent re-emergence after 50 years) but certainly not "lesser" Lewton. The Ghost Ship is a tremendous B film, slipping a smart and sumptuously crafted psychological thriller in the "b-horror" space, that genuinely keeps you engaged and guessing throughout, as you slip into its sumptuous, dreamy, foggy pools of black."
Leopard man is the real thriller
bernie | Arlington, Texas | 05/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Leopard Man"
All or our lives are like the ball bouncing at the top of the fountain
Rival entertainers meet in a club in New Mexico Kiki Walker (Jean Brooks) brings in a leopard to upstage Clo-Clo (Margo). But Clo-Clo gets the last laugh when she chases the leopard off with her castanets.
All is fun rivalry until people start dying. Naturally the local authorities think it is the leopard. But Jerry Manning (Dennis O'Keefe) who rented the leopard has a theory that this is the work of a demented person. This theory is sort of supported by Dr. Galbraith (James Bell) the local museum curator. To make matters worse the leopard's owner, Charlie How-Come (Abner Biberman) does not remember where he was at the time.
As with the cat people it is what you don't see that can harm you. And the simile turning of a card can mark you for death.
You may recognize Dynamite the leopard that was also used in the movie "Cat People".
Produced by Val Lewton (7 May 1904, Yalta, Crimea, Russian Empire (now Ukraine) ) whose story telling device is unique in that this is more of a psychological film that does not focus on any one person as they are all pawns in a much larger story. Some time it verges on the surreal.
Now that you have seen the film read the book "Black Alibi" by Cornell Woolrich.
"The Ghost Ship"
A new third mate on his first long sea voyage in introduced to captain and crew. Before he steps on bard he is warned by a blond man. He runs into a mute. And before they even leave port Jensen is found dead, just a heat attack. "With his death the waters of the sea are open to us. But there will be other deaths and the agony of dieing."
Don't go looking for anything supernatural as this is a Val Lewton movie. I would pay close attention to the characters. One of them may be a bit unhinged. The big question in this story is man's nature to help or ignore their fellow man.
The Val Lewton Horror Collection (Cat People / The Curse of the Cat People / I Walked with a Zombie / The Body Snatcher / Isle of the Dead / Bedlam / The Leopard Man / The Ghost Ship / The Seventh Victim / Shadows in the Dark)
Suspense/Mystery Tales - Not Horror
Susan K. Schoonover | Boulder, CO | 07/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE GHOST SHIP and THE LEOPARD MAN are both black and white films of a little more than an hour in length that were produced by Val Lewton in the 1940's. Despite the horror movie titles THE GHOST SHIP has no ghosts and THE LEOPARD MAN contains no supernatural elements.
The setting of THE LEOPARD MAN is New Mexico presumably in the 1940's when the film was made. A leopard escapes and three young women are stalked and found dead. At first it is assumed the leopard is responsible or could it be someone or something else? The film makes good use of the New Mexico setting and its blend of Native American, Mexican American and Anglo traditions. And somehow in a little more than an hour we are fully introduced to all three of the victims and meet their families and learn quite a bit about them so we are quite moved by their deaths. The movie has some subtle horrific touches - look for the chilling use of shadow puppets by the first victim's brother both before and after his sister's death. An interesting film but more of a murder mystery than pure horror.
THE GHOST SHIP is pure psychological suspense. A young ship officer signs on to a ship with a captain who has some very dangerous ideas about authority. Suspicious deaths follow and the film takes on a genuine nightmarish quality as the young officer tried to expose the increasingly unstable captain. A decent storyline that would feel right at home on THE TWILIGHT ZONE."