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USA suspense 1942 bw 73 min.
Director: Jacques Tourneur
CLV: $49.95 - available
1 disc, catalog # CC1385L

Hollywood's first overtly sexual horror film, Cat People terrified a generation with its subtle underscoring of Freudian vernacular. Irena Dubrovna (Simone Simon) is a Serbian sketch artist living in New York, who meets and falls in love with a young man, only to awaken the deadly impulses that lay hidden within her and trigger the terrifying transformation that curses her family. Earlier genre classics, such as Tod Browning's Dracula, were keyed to covert sexuality in the accepted Victorian manner, but Cat People, produced, conceived, and co-authored by Val Lewton, marked the first time that a Hollywood chiller used the sexual act and impulse-and their accompanying conflicts-as the basis for action and story. Criterion's special edition includes:

  • Audio commentary by film historian Bruce Eder
  • The original theatrical trailer for Cat People and other Val Lewton films
  • A Val Lewton filmography, production stills, and lobby cards

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