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VOL 12 N0 4

MAY-J UNE, 1982

For anyone who likes horror, fantasy and science fiction fi lms , last summer was like be.ing a kid in a candy store , because there were so many films to c hoose from. This summer it's the same , only better (or worse , depending how you look at it). Better because it's fun to have two or three major genre fi lm s open every week ; worse because it's bad for the genre when worthy films flop due to t he intense competit ion . That's what happened to DRAGONSLA YER last summer. Despite the fact that there are actually fewer films in release than last summer , there are more horror, fantasy and science fiction films this year than ever before. The lin e-up for June looks li ke sure suic ide for a number of film s: opening June 4, POLTERG EI ST, Steven Spielberg 's answer to THE EXORCIST , and STAR TREK II ; June 11 , Spielberg 's THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL ; June 18, FIREFO X, a Clint Eastwood thriller about a superjet with motion c ont rol effects by John Dykstra ; and June 25, MEGAFORCE, THE TH IN G and BLADE RUNNER. Th ese eight film s co mpete not o nl y with each other, but w ith such eag erl y anti c ipated general release s as ANNIE , ROCKY III and GREASE II .

VAL LEWTON'S CAT PEOPLE (1942) T his low -budget film used sound effects, precise edi ting a nd evoca tive shadows to crea te its h orro r. A hu ge success, it revolutionized th e m oribund horror genre.

R etrospect by George Turner

28

PAUL SCHRADER'S CAT PEOPLE (1982)

H e had never directed a h o rror film . H e is allerg ic to cats. H e doesn ' t like to use sp ecia l effects. Yet, despite th ese draw bac ks - or perh a ps because of th em-Pa ul Schrader has cra fted o n e of the m ost p oeti c a nd styli sh horror film s in years.

Article by Steve R ebello

14

Profile by Kay Anderson

18

TRON

Co m p uter g ra phics have co me o f age in thi s video-ga me fa ntasy . And if th e techno logists a re ri g ht, thi s may ma rk th e beg inning o f th e end for th e mos t ba sic o f all m ov ie eq uip ment: fil m itself. Article by David j. H ogan

The reason for th e genre film logjam is t hat statisticall y, the Ju ly 4th wee kend is the peak filmg o ing period of the year, when more peopl e pa y more money to see more film s than at an y other time. T his fact , plu s simp le greed , makes most distributors and film producers rush for June openings like lemmings headed towa rd the sea .

52

THETHING

J o hn Ca rpenter plu gs up th e p lo t h o les a nd beefs u p th e security aro und R o b BOllin 's (s up posedl y) in cred ibl e ma keup effects, as he readi es thi s $ 15 mi lli on rema ke fo r summer relea se.

No producer was ever forced to tak e a June date from a distributor. Most producers fight to get favored June openings , and they 're all egotistical enough to believe that their fi lm is big enough and good enough to weather the competition. Some of t hese same producers are never heard of again . Wha t, for instance , has DRAGONSLA YER 's Hal Barwood produced latel y? So , genre fans , pass the popcorn , whi le all those produc ers out there reach for the va lium . Frederick S. Clarke

NICHOLAS MEYER

Stra ig ht ta lk fro m th e directo r o f Pa ramo unt's Star Trek seq uel, T he Vengeance of Kahn . Meyer's bi ggest pro bl ems: wo rkin g with ILM 's spec ia l effects and gellin g bagels for breakfas t.

Article by Jordan R . Fox

REVIEWS

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48 48 49 50 50

SWAMP THING lDavid j. H ogan VISITING HOU RS IJordan R. Fox CON AN THE BARBARIAN I Paul M. Sammon ELECTRIC G RAN DMOTHER I David Bartholomew GREATWHITE / Christopher Mart in

Cover photograph of Paul Schrader by Bob Villard P U BLISH ER AN D EDIT OR: Frederick S. C la rk e. MANAGING EDIT OR: M ichae l Ka p la n. BU R EA US: New Yo rk Dav id Ba nho lo me w, Da n Scapp cro n i; Los Ang eles/ J o rd a n R. Fox, Kyle COUIllS; London/ M ike C hil ds, Ala n J o nes; Pa ris/ Frederi c AI ben Levy. CONT RIB UTO RS : Ka y Anderso n , J udilh 1'. 11 ,IITis, David J. I-loga n , K. Geo rge God w in , Bill Kelley, La rr y La ll kfo rd , Ra nda ll La rso n . Tim Lucas, 'Ch r is to pher Ma nin , Mike Mayo , T ed Newso m , S lep hen Re bell o, Pa ul M. Sa mmo n , C eorgeTu rn er, Bob Vill ard. Associa,e E<li,or: Cor)' C la hcrso n . O ffi ce S' aff: Roben C a rcia, Li t. Woodru ff. P H OTO C R EDIT S: :\II pho lm frollllh t, It'm :lkt' of CAT PEOPLE r: I!JH2 l !llin'r:'l al S IIH lio.'), Tramforl lla t ioll ~k t'l c h (p; lg(' ~Y) by lbri ]) n 'ih: lll d , i\bk e up ( OI1 Cepl :'I kt'rdH':'I (p:lge 35. ·11) hy Tom BUI rn :ltl. P ho lo of I ,t,~ lbXlt'\ (pa gt' K) CO lII" lt''')' 01 f);I\,id Kl afr. Apt' ill l1'otrat io ll (p:tg t' :>:» by i\ li lt I' riggt't', AC KNO WL EDGE\1 ENTS: Torn l ~urlll : Ul . Bari D rl'iba ll d, i\ l i(k C; an' i ~, Ik ll lli" .J () llII ~O Il , A II li t' J () ll l'~' Pe tl'r Kll r: tIl . T om Ph ill ip.'). 1'1.: 1(:1" \\, (' i ~..,. :\ 1 Whi tl o ck.

C I N EFAi\TAST IQ U E M AG AZ I NI:: (ISS:'\' 01 ,1:)·6032 ) i.') plIbli ~ h l'd hi -mollthl y:u P .O. Box 270, O ak 1-':11 k. I ll illoi .') 60303. SI.'(on li (h.,> pm ta gt' p:lid al Oak Pa l"k. I ll illoi~ 60303. POS' r i\ l:\S' , 'ER: Sen d add rt'.').') ch a ll gn 10 (: I:"X E F :\~ TA S T I Q l ' E.. P ,0 , Bo x 270, O :lk I':trk I llill o i.') GO:S03, S u bscr ipt io lls: FoUl b'>lH'.') S H. Eighl b .., u t,~ S2Li, T Wl'h-l' f:.,.') lIl'.') S36. ( F O " l'I.~fI ."lb,H rtjJ!lOl1 S: Fou r i.\ ,Hit'.Ii 517, Ei,l/,"t l s.\ues SJI, T w f'llll' I S.\1I " ,~ S-n, 1}(I\'flule III LISA Jlllld.\ ulIi},. j Sillgi(· « )pi t,,,, whell pun h:\.')l'd frotll t ht' pllbti ~ ht'r : S6. Reta il Dis t ributi o n : In Ih t' L' n iln\ Sla lt'.') b~ 1::;1.') 1('111 .'\'( ' \\'~ Di ,> 1J iblllOJ".') , Ill( . II I I:: igh lh AW lI Ul', Nt·\\' Yo rk. N .V. 1001 1. (2 12) 2:>:) - ~> 620. I II CIl':tI Br itaill h y T il a n Di:, trihltl o l .... PO Box 2:) 0. I,ondoll !,:j ·IR "!" Pho li l': (01 ) moW-GIG7, Odll'r ("Ou lw it::> p lca .')(' app ly for lihl'ral di,)((} lII H il n d tlTlB:, of.')alc. A(h 'crtisin g ra les a n d :,pe( ifit ;tlio ll .') alt' ;t\,: \ilahlt· 011 J"l'(]ut':,1. C lass ifi ed ad rill es art· <t\'ail:t hk Oil p a~l'!) I. Su bm iss io ns of , ti l. :11 lid t,.'), rl'\' il'\\':' a m J :, Ior)' S ll g:gC~ 1 i()Jl ~ art' l'llI ouragt·tl. bu t fl O (,OITt'~pO ll d( ' Il ( t("a n lx' ;rll s \\Trl.,d lIn ll':,:, ,I('(omp;mi('d hy;t .') 1:lI lIped , .')e ]f-addl l.':'.')l.'d t'm ·d o p e. P rin ll'd in LISA , Co n tt'lI t:> ('o p yr i ~ h l c 19H2 h) Frt'dl.'l i( k S. C la rk<.-. C I NE FANTAST IQ U E It i ~: 1 Rt'g; isll'l"t'd U ,~. T radt'lnark.

5


r~bt.t VALlEWTO £i)~e.cted.

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JACQUES TOURNEUR WRtnE'N BY DeWITT e.ool ....


A

RET R 0 S PEe T

o

F

THE

o

R

GIN A L

Val Lewton's CAT PEOPLE

This 1942 RKO production was an injluentiallandmark in the development of the modem horror film. By G eorge Turner Th e g rea t clays o f th e horror film had beco ll1 e w istful ll1 t'mOli cs . Ih th e carl y "lOs o nl y a n occasional wo rth \\' hi le chill er em erged fro m the morass th e ge nre had beco m e. An d th cse few film s sen ·ed o nl y to keep a li vc I he ho p e th a t a successor to .lames Wh a le a llli Tod Bro\\' nin gwo ul d h era ld a rebirth. Fi na ll )" a n('w llI as ter o f ho rro r did appear. A m a n w h o o p en ed n l"v di rec li o ns fo r Ihe horro r gc nre by p ur pose ly go in g aga in st th e esta bl ish ed gL lin , thro w ing out th e a iel, sl a le co n ve nti o n s, and pro du cin g so m ethin g lI ew . Fr o m pr odu ce r Vl a dim a r (Va l) L ew ton 's first p ictu re, C AT P EOPLE , h e s ta rt e d a sll1a Il r CJl(li ssa n cf' th a t

brea th ed n ew life in to th e stagn a nt p o nd tha i h o rror fi Ims had becom e, brin g in g w ith him a cad re o f ta lent ed m cn w hose influ en ce went far beyo n d the a tm os pheri c ho rro r fil ms m ade a t RKO . Of co u rse, in th e film industry ren a issa nce does n ' t ha ppen beca use o f a rti sti c n eed, but becau se of m o n ey . And Lewl o n 's ho rror unit w as born as a consequ ence o f th e p er io di c ma n agm cnt sh a keups a l RKO . Such u p h eava ls were d ue to the fa il u re o f ex pen sive p roducti o n s 10 m ake mo n ey fo r thes lu d io . C h a rl es Koern er, a fo rm er thea ter executi ve, was appo inted p rodu cti o n vicc-pres ident ea rl y in 19'12. A g la n ce a l th e le d ger s h eets co n vin ced Koern er th a t th e comp an y was los in g mo n ey o n m a n y o f its hi g h bu dge t feat ures, bUI m a kin g h ea lth y p ro fits o n th eso-call ed"B " pi ct ures -I h ose m ade o n budge ts below $ 150,000. H e a lso not ed th a i a ri va l st u d io , U ni versa l, w as m a kin g so much m o n ey fro lll ho rro r p ictures th at the fro n I o ffi ce rpferred to Ih em as ·' Midas produ cl io n s.'· Koern er dec id ed to eS la blish a n ew p rod u cli o n unit \\' hi ch wo ul d specia li ze in th e ma kin go fl ow-bu dgel h o rro r fil m s uuilt a ro un d ex pl o itable tit les th aL cou ld be audien ce tes ted in ad va n ce. At a Beverl y Hills dinner part y, Koern er m et I .ew lo n , a Russ ian bo rn n o velist an d publi city wril t'r

SIMONE SIMON , as Irena, explains the legend of King John of Serbia , depicted in the foreground sculpture holding aloft his sword upon which a cat is impaled. In medieval times, King John put to death the witches of his kingdom, women who would take the form of cats. "The wisest and most wicked escaped into the mountains ," says Irena. " Those who escaped , haunt the village where I was born ."

w ho W;(S a stor, edil o r and resea rch dilcclOl 10 1 D;;\id O. Se lznick a nd h ad bee n lor the past ei g hl Y('drs. Bllrl y a nd good hlllllored , d naill ra l r'ICO III CIII, Newton impressed th e sill d io chid· ;IS a m a n w h o co uld pil i IOge lh el;1 good sh o\\'o Fo li o\\'in g h is in slincts, Koer n er o ffered Le,,·lon a jo b dS h o rro r spec i,di st '"ld Lew lon acccpLed. In ;'I'larch , 19·12, Lew lo n "Till O il Ih e RhO p,m o ll a l S2:i() per week. Il ,' de l ig ht ed in info rl n ill g· h is fri en ds thai h e W;IS li sled o n Ih e silidi o roSier as an '·dSS . plod .·' Hi s illlln ediate superiol \\' a s cX('C llli ve p rodu cer, Lou OSlroW. ,\1 firsl Koerner and Lewto n wo rk ed on adapi in g pu bl is h ed Ii Lera ry works a nd looked a l A Igc rn o n Bbck,,·ood's , l n cit'1I 1 So!cn1('.1. Le,,·lo n ,,·as im p rcssed w ilh Koenl lT· s laS le, but la ler he rev ised hi s o pin io n. KoernlT h ad bccn LOa p a rt Y;lIld som eon e I hcre suggcs ted Ih al \\,CTCWO " TS a nd v' "11pi res h ad \)cen overdo ne in film s, bllt '· no lxldy 11;,,1 don e mu ch o f an ylhin g abo lll ca ls. ·' Aba ndonin g· lh e Bbc kwood la ic, KotTner came "I' w ilh a Lil le: CAT PEOPLE. Lew ton fOllnd Ih e lill ,' depress in g ly lurid , bill kepi hi s o pini o n 10 hilll sei f. Findi n g an accq JI;( bl c ,,·o rk 10 fit IIll' ti lit' ,,·dS no l as easy as Ihi n ki ll g up Ihe n amc. Lcwto n speniin o lllhs loo kin g a l slor it's incill d in g Ambrose Bi erce's T ile e yes uf the Plllllilt'! a nd iVlar gd re l lr ,,· in 's t\I01/.\NILr Salis ,-I IV ift', w hi ch II<' Il o led dow n as ·'d fe lchil! g lill ie tale ab o lll a m a n w ho m l'ets t\\'os islers Ih a l ' liT nol reall y \\'01 II CII , bill ca ts . " Finall y, Lcw lo n dr o pp ed all pr e ll 'lI sc o f ad a ptin g a pllbli sh ed lil era ry wo rk ;(nd rOll g hl y o lltlin ed a n ide;1 o f h is O\,· n . .[ h is elll bryo lli c vers io n open s in ;( sn o\,·-co vered Ba lka ll vill age hein g ill\·a dl'd hy a Naz i Pa nzer d ivisio n. By (b y th e inh;( bil a nts Sl'em so mnol clll and Illl coll cer ll ed by such a threa t; by ni g ht , however, tlwse sa m e indi vidu ;d s cha nge in to gTC'a l , <lIS and Inrn aga in sl Ih e ir Glpl orS . A girl frolll thi s vill age fl ees to New York and fa ll s in lo ve,

23


a lo n g convelliiona lli n es . As soon as Ihe bas ic s to ry idea was g ivell a reluct a nl go-a h ca d hy O s trow LeWlO1l selll for O<.:\ Vill Bodn'lI , a pl ayw ri g h I work in ~ a s <I resea rc h assistallt al Se ll.lli c k - Illl c ril a l iOll a l, w ho h C("; IIlH' til t' firs l S(T{'t'lI \\T it er o f the g rollI' , " Ik fore \', d d ep" rt ed for RKO," sa id Bode( 'II , " he as ked IIIL' to ca ll hilll a s SOO Il as III )' wo rk fo r Sdl.Ili c k "'a s cO lilp icled. I plll) lI ed hilll Iwo wl'e ks Ia t l'!' ;lIld h t' l!l ade ;lIT<I II g <.> In e lll S for lilt ' to be hired ; IS a cO lltra cl w ril {,I" ;1I I ill' Cllild Ill illillllli ll of S7!J per we"k. I h <ld 11l '\'(T w ri II e ll for I h I.: scre('11 before," Hodee ll , lI e )\\' 7·1, li n's ill W oodblld I Iill s, ami is Ih " OI" y Illl'llll )('r o f Ihe LeWlolltl'aill c red ited Oil l ! lIi n'l'sa l' s II I.:W eXI' P EO PL E re ll1ak e, I'm Ih e o ri g ill a l story. LJ lli \'('rsa l selll Hodeell a cop )' o f Ih e lI e\\' scr ipt. " II lo ll ows th e o ri g ill ,d fa irl y closel y as to Ih e iIl Cicit 'III S," i1 cs;l id, " IHII o j COl ll" st ' il is \Tr y II H)dtTJI ;IIHI \T r y, 71(' r y sex y, I d idll ' l re, "l y li ke Ih a l p a rt , IJlII I'1Il g lad ILI.If.':: ge l\T IlIe ;1 c r('<iil. ;11)(11 pl a ll 10 se(' II , For a wee k, I ,('\\' toll alld Bode('11 read a ll the li" T' "I1IT aboul C ltS Ih ey cO lild II l1 l.:a nh , TII(' Y a lso S('lT('lI ed IIUIIl C)"(H IS s uccl'ss ful iJorror filln s, 1I10Sli v 1l1 ; Ic!e

Director Jacques Tourneur, seated in front of the camera, rehearses Simone Simon and Kent Smith , Assistant director Doran Cox is at far right. Tourneur took only $135,000 and 24 days to complete the film,

but s h e ca ll't escape h er ll<"r it a14c, Lewton illitia ll y pla llll ed for th e g irl ll e \"C r to s p ea k dir ect l v , " I thou g ht we Illi g ht leI 0111' ca l- g irl o lll y s p ea k ill 101114 s hot s,"' h c said. "YOl/ Iwa r th l.: 1I11lnnur o f h e r vo icc, YOII IJ( ' V(T 11(', 11' w h a l s h t' i ssay ill g~ llId , if it is Il cC('ss;lry to g ino' her ,,'ortis 1l1 C<J llill g- t o

11 1('

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ca ll a!w;! vs cO lllri vc 10 have SOIll(' o th l.:r c h ,;ra c t<T tell \\" hat th e gi rl sa id," Th is idea \\"as not p opu lar IV it h th e deci s ioll-makers. A lso, the p rojl.:c ted ell dillg \\" as quit e uu lik e th e olle eVl.: llt u all )" fi lm ed , "MoSi o f Ih e cal we re \\"olf s wries I h;I\T read alld all I h e we re-

wo lf s tor ies I h (l\'(' S(,(,11 on the scr eell e nd ",ilil th e bea st g- IIIl Sh Ol <1I](j tllrn ing back illt o a 11111n a n bein g- a ft e r d t'il lh ," L cw toll w ro le. " In thi s s tory I'd like 10 re \,c rsethisprocess . Fo r I Il(' final scelle I' d lik e 10 s h o \\" a v iole nl quanT I bct weellthe III a ll a lld \\"Olllall in w hi c h s h e is prm'oked inw a ll assa ult Il pOIl hilli. 'ro protect ilinl sdf, h e p u s h es h e r away , s h l.: s!Um bles , fa ll s aw kward ly, a lld breaks h er n eck ill Ihe fa ll , Th e Y(lIl1l g man , horrifi ed , kll ed s to see if h e e lll fed h e r h eart heal. lI llder hi s h a ll d bLlc k

24

hair '"ld hi d e co me up alld h e dra ws ha c k to look do\\" 11 ill horror ,11 ,,,"'ad , hlack 1',"11 h eT," While Ill a n y o f Ih cse illitial ideas didll ' l s lln'i\'(', importalll e1clll l.:ll tsof Lh l' fili al ve rs io ll \\' crcs lI ggcs lcd. Lcw(011 w rote I h <l l IH' wanted "<I Illan , poss ib ly a doctor, w ho a lways gives Ihc scie lllifi c or fact ua l I.:xp la ll a li o n for (Ill )' plt c llulll c n a tilal OCC llrs , hrlls hill g Ihe su p<.:r ll a tural as ide, ,"ltl yet. w h o is alwa ys pro ved w ron g by I h c I.:velllS 0111 h e scree 11 , Th is d ev ice, I h opI.:, \\'i ll e x press Ihc audi ell ces' d ou bts e\T Il bdore they arc filII " forIllld a lcd ill th eir lIlilid s alld qlli c kl y <I Il SWl'r th e lll , (hil S k n d in g-a d l'grl'cof c redibli l), 10 t h l.: Y' II'II , whic h is go ill g 10 be difli c u lt w acilil'vl.:," A n ot he r id ea l'll v is iolll'd ea rl y ill th e producti o n a nd late r seen 0 11 thc SClTI.: 11 , was Ih e srcll e ill w hi c h O live r lak cs Irl.: n a (S imo n I.:S imoll ) in LOapel store . "IIere," wro le L ewlO lI , " I'd lik e 10 s h o\\' th l.: c h all<.:ri ll g fea r Ih a l ari scs upo n h e r c ntra n ce, A I tlt e \'c ry h e ig ht o f th l.: IIproa r, I wo uld like 10 ha vl' a lillie bl a c k cal COIilC dOll'lIlhe CClli er a is le of I h I.: s tore, vl.: ry calml y, a lld rub affcct io llalel y a ga illst Ih e 14i1·1. " ([11 th e fillll , th c ca t is as fri g'hl -

ClI l.:d as th e OIh l.: r a ll i lIl ,d s .) L.ewwn 's d es ire 10 a \'o id Iy pica l hor ror filill s itualiolls Icd hillilodrop th l.: Rdkall SC< IUUlCC e lllird y, opt ill g in sl c;-HI 10 prescllt Ih c elllire slor), ill Ilw CO lll ex t of m o dern , wor kad a y sc llill g-s. As h e s ia led ill a s ilidio p rcss rd ea sl.: ill 191'1 , " lh ecila racI('I's illih e rUIl -o f-1h e- liliII \w il'd fiIIll S WI.:IT USU,dl y peopk vcry rellloi d ro llil h C' "ldi e ll cl's' experi c n ces, Euro p l'< 111 I H)blcs of dark all iecl.:d cll ts , lIl ad sc iCllli st s, Ill(lll · crea lcd IlIoll s tl'r S, a lld Ih c li ke cavorted across I h I.: sn el.: ll. II wou ld be lIlu c h Ili00T e lli e rtaillill g if p eop le w ilh w h o m a udie ll cl.:s co uld id e llti fv we re s h oW IJ ill CO Il(a c t w ith Ih e s tra ll ge, th e wc ird alld I h I.: OCCIl II. We lIl ade il a bas ic part o f Oll r wo rk 10 s h ow 1I0r illai peop le -ell g a ged ill 1101"1 11;11 occupati u ns - ill ollr pictures." () s tl"()\.V, L ew toll 's direci s u per io r , "'as !lot particu la rl y sY lllpa lh e lic 10

Lew to n 's

i dea s of C ill(~ llla ,

li e ga uged

as 1.00 prele lltious a lld fu ssy 10 s ucceed a s a p rodu cer of popu lar Clll e rt ;lilllll ell l-<-I v iew s hare d b y 1I1 :'III Y o th e rs Cit Ih e s lud io, Fori 11 Il a leh', h oer ll l.: r lik ed 1II 0st of th e ideas 'alld oll ly hi s illi ervellti o n saved C \T PE O PL E froll l be ill g res ha ped L e \\; I O II

hv

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idea oj' d ilil ill ,,,'ili g as lila II )" cI ic h es ol Ih e ge llre 'IS poss ible, AL ia" I ,('\\' tOIi IUI"IH'd hi s lIol es O \ 'lT 10 Bodel'1l <llld h ;ld hilll CO I1 SIl"ll CI ~ I 50-page s lor y, 1101 ill Ire; IIIIH'lIt or scr ipt fOl'ln, hilt o ll e \\T il"'11 as tllOIl g h for publica ti o ll ill <-Ilnag"<lz ill t'. Bo d l.:l' lI prodll ced '.1 fir st-perso ll lI " rra li\'(' \\Tiltl.:l1 frolll Ihe pO ili1 of \'ie \\' of' A li cl', a WO ll IClil ill 10\,(' w ith Ihe e " gi rl' s hu s balld, I Ie- brOllght 111:111 y i 111 p o rt a llt ci (, IlI l' III S 10 th e b;l s ic s lo ry. illcilidill g \\' h a l proved t o be a ll O IIl SL<llIdill f4 seq ll e n ce w he re ill A li ce is 1I1l'1I<1 cc'd by a s ll<"l o \\')" cat- l ik e pn'selHT ill a h OIt-'1 sw i 111111 ill g" poo l. Thl' idea s prall g frolll a perso ll a l C'x p e ri c ll ce : l\od eT II h ad """ IO St dro\\· lI e d 0 11 ("(' \\' h e n s willl inill g a loll l', Jacqucs TOllrtl('lIr, SO li o f IIIC' great Frl'lI c h director, iVl aliricl' · roUrll l' IIJ', \\"IS hircd b" RKO al I ,C\\' IOIl 'S illsti ga li o ll, i\ft~r wo rkill g ill F .. a ll cl.: alld AtTI t.: ri ca 0 11 va ri o ll s fe a lures a nd s ho rt s ubj t.:c ts, h e Ill CI L C\·v IOIl w hil c

NIGHTMARE IMAGES of prowling cats (left) , and Tom Conway as King John of Serbia (middle) comprise Irena's dream sequence, composited for the film by Linwood Dunn, King John's sword dissolves into the key of the panther cage at the zoo (right), setting-up, psychologically, Irena 's self-sacrifice to the panther.


IRENA'S ATTACK on Oliver and Alice in a drafting room is illuminated only by the glare of light tables (left). The front office insisted Tourneur reshoot scenes with a real panther, but the director kept it effectively hidden in the shadows (middle). Irena is fended-off by a T-square held to form the sign of the cross (right). bo th worked o n stag in g th e French Revo luti on sequences for theSelznickMCM e pic, ATALE OF TWO C ITIES ( 1 9~:; ) . By 1912 , TOUrl1ellr" s career W;I S S( <Igll,- 11I1 ; IIHII](' was o lll y h;lpPY to join L cw toJl 'S honor unit.

LOO

'ril l' Il ext 1l1Clll bel" of I he I C<l 1l1 W<lS film editor Mar k Ro bso n. Ro bso n was Oll t' of t he stu di o's Lopcdilors. !lot t he sort ge n('rall y r('lega ted to II produn ion s but , as heexpi:Jined:"'1 was Orso n We lles' editor on CITII.E N KA N E, and that pinlnT cost a lot of linH' and 11IOIlC), it didn 't ITCO llp. ManagclIl clH tended to bLllnl' a ll o f RKO 's finan c ial tro ubles o n Orso n , a nd thosc of li S \ ' ho wo rked wit h him had to s hare t h e blam e." Bein g ex il ed to th e horror unit proved a good brea k for Robso n. however. He was brought into a ll pre-produ ction a nd s Lory s(:'ss io ll s

from th e firs t and made importan t CO l1trihllti ons. lie al so had experience as (I second unit din'c lor , w hi ch prm"l'(1an ass('t. As theprodn clioll n ca red r <:a li z<l ti on , Le w to n

wrO te to Koern er th a t"' If I were asked to

11(1111 (:'

Oll e sin gle ractor, beyo nd lil t'

director 's work , w hi ch helped nIl' most w ith CAT PEOPLE , I wo uld '''Imt: Mark 's work. J ;lcqu es says of him that he Cllt S lik e" director. w hi ch , from a director, is prai se indeed. "' Th e n eop h yte produ cer rece ived va lu a ble help from a fellow " 13 " 1Il0vie producer, I-Icrman Sel d om . w ho was o n e o f RK O' s kaciin g expert s in makin g sli ck, ('coneJln ica l melodralllas. Sch lom exp lained to Lew lo n til t: ma n y ways of cut tin g preproduct ion cos ts, particu la rl y in lht: p lallning of se ts. Th e gO\"(TlulH'nt had im posed a strictl y ('nfo rced \\'artime limit of $ 10,000 on set construction , Illakin g it Il ecessa ry to uti li ze standin g se ts a lill os t ex clusivel y. There was. fortunatel y, a grea t dcal to c hoose fn)ln at RKO , w hi ch in additio nlollw Iioll ywood sLudi o 11;,,1 li se o f th t: big ,IO-acre backlOl and sta ges at RKO,Pa lhe (now Ll ird Int ernat io n a l Studio) in Cu lver City and the RI\.O ra n ch a t En cin o. L('\\'ton " lid it " 'as frolll .'icl1lolll 111 ;' 11 he learn cd 10 lavish greater C IIT

ill dress in g OIl L' or I\\'O Illajor se ts a lld skilllping by o nth e rt's!. ,\ ccordin g ly.

« Ild a cenain cOll cc it e d cOlltin c lltal qualit y 111 ;' 11. \\"oi lid Ill , lke a lldi c ll cCS

th e ln a i n an ioll foclI ses 0 11 lil e ('; 11

di slik e hilll. " As till' script dC\'c1oped ,

gir l 's studi o apartll1l'TlL , th e exterior of w hi ch WllS a brow n sto ll l' fru llI U ll

howc"t'I" , Itt' decide d to cast ag;li ll sl

Patlle's vt:n t:rable Ne ,,' York stree!. ' 1"Iw marvelous stairway, lIsed a

fe\\ '

lllo n ths ear li er for Orson Wd les' MACN IFI CFi\'T AMBERSON.'; a llli sli 11 s ta nding 0 11 a Pallle so ulld sta gt', was a ltered by addin g an adjacent el eva tor cage fro m th e sce ne dock. Th e Centra l P ark sell in gs wercfami liar to lovers of th e Astaire-Rogers Inlls ica ls a lld sonl e offi ces a nd s ta irways were lefl over fro m the 194 1 com ed y, THE DEVIL AND M ISS J ONES. A sta ndillg cafe SCI was dressed as a co ffee shop fo r o n e sequence, a pet store for an o th er <l ll d a Serbian ca rc

for a third. \II i1d wa ll s se t up w ith props from th e sct: ll t: docks madt: up most of lh l' st:ts lh al co uldll't be rcdrl'ssed. U ilit a rt director Wait er Kell er so a nfull y di sgllised these sets as to obscure a n y s u ggestion o f " h a nd - m c- down " orig in s . T h ey were smoth ered in appropriat e deco r by se t decorator A I Fidel s, w ho combed the propt:ny dep anm ellt and prop remal hou ses for item s sig nifica nt to th e devclopm ent oft hech araclers as w ei I as th e slo ry. Casli n gwasa n imponan t aspect o f th e r lan to avo id horror film conventi o ns. ''I'd lik e to h ave a g irl w ith a litt ie kitten -face like S im o n e S im o n , cute and sof t ,md cuddl y and see ming ly not at a ll dangerous," Lewt o n wro le to O strow. " I took a look a t th e P aramount p iclure THE IS LAND OF LOST SOULS and a h er seein g th e ir mu c h-publi c ized 'panther wo man ,' I feci that an y att empt to secure a ca t-lik e qu a lity in our g irl 's p h ys ica l appeara n ce wo u Id be absolutel y di sas trous." Bo dt:en reca ll ed tha t " Va l told m e fro m the firs t to write thc p a noflren aa roundS imone S im o n. H e seem ed con fid em that he wou ld be a ble to get her. " A leading star in h er nalive Fran ct:, Miss Simon had made a number of film s in th e U nited S lates, but n ever achi eved the popu larilY her sponsors at20l h Century , Fox had a nti cipaled. Lewto n sent th e actress a co p y of lhe first dra ft script whi les hewasa ppear, in g o n slage in C hi cago and she quick ly acc<'pled a t rath er generous tcrnl S. For th e a mbi g uo us character of psychi a trist Dr. Judd , first vi sua lized as a s ini ster Europea n ca lled Muell er, Lew ton 's fir sl choi ce was th e German aClo r Frilz Konner, who would, he beli eved, " add a g reat dea l of menace

type a nd h ave til e charaCier be a YOlln g; llltl handso ille Britisher. Likeable TOIll C o n wa y, a co ntract pla yer wilo had rccl'ntl y sllc('('('ded hi s oldl'r bro ther, Ccorgc: Sanders, as SIal' o f RKO 's popu!;,r FALCON sCTies, "'as <I\·a ilahlc a lld proved all apt c ho ice.

I\. ent Smith , a success ful Broad\\' a y leading IllClll , who sign ed a n RKO

co ntract in 19-1 1, had heen in Ii o ll ywoo d for nin e lll Ollth s wi th out appearing in a n Ylhing except some Arnl y tr a ining fi11T1 S. L CW lon saw Smith as he commut ed to tIl(' slildi o every day o n h is bicycl e and dec id ed h e Illi g hl be an ideal Oli ver, thdilm 's qui t: l- man h e ro. Sm ilh 's sy mpathetic portraya l laun ched a long, so lid film career. J ane Randolph , also a con tra ct pla yer, was chosen for t hc second woman role becau se s ht: was lIot the in gellu e typ e u su ,dl y fa vored for su ch pa rt s. Tall a nd effi cient-looking, s he epitolllized the modern career women who h ad co me to th e fo re s in ce th e beg innin g o f World War II. Thc olher actors, even down to lilt: bil pla yers, were hand-ri cked by TOllrn eur and Le\\'ton from th e contract li sl and cas lin g cala log. T he most strikin g small role is th at of the ca tlike W01n a n who ;- tppcars ill olil y OIl C

scent: - an unforgt:llabl e ca ill eo by th e sta tu esq ue Eliza beth Rllsse ll. C inematog rapher Ni ck Mu suraca h ad bt:en typ ed for som e years as a photog rapher of Western an d act io n pi Clures befo re he was ass ig ned to

Cast & Credits All RI{O Radio Picl ure.

I~

-12.73 minulCS.

Direclrd by Jacqu~s Tournc(lr. I~rodliced by Val Lewtoll. 'Vriflell by Dc\Viu Hodcen.

A'1usi. iJy Ro y \\'e hh. IHlls icni dirr~clor, c. Hakaleinikoff. CillenUl log'Tapher N icho· las Musuraca. Art dirt'clors, Alber( S. D'Agost ino and Walter E. Keller. Set decoratiuns, Darrell Silvera and AI Fields. Guwns by Re llic. Recorded by John L. Casso Edilc{1 by l\:l ark Rohso n. A ssistant. dirrclor, Doran Cox. PholograjJhic effecl.~, Linwood Dunn. Orchestrations, Leonid Raa h and John Liepold. Russia n lyrics by Andrei TolslOi. Execu li ve /Jroducer, Lou OSlrow. Animal Train er, Mel Koontz. Availahl e on videolape hOin The Nostal· ~ia Merchanl. NO Il·lheatri ca l 16111111 dislrilnuion by Films, Inc. J

Irena Dubruv ll11 Oliver lieed .... J)r. Louis Judd Ii lief' M(}(}re . Th e Cummodure . Carver . Nliss Plllllli eli .. Gat Wuman ... .. Zoo Keet>er. . . Gab Drivrr . . lIotel Allendnllt

.. . SimoncSimon .. Kent Smith Tom Conway

..... J ant· Randolph .. Jack Holt .... Alan Napier .. . Elizabeth Dunne

Elizabeth Russell Alec Craig . .. Donald Kerr ..... Terry Walker Minnie . . . The resa H ar ris Mrs. Agn<'w . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dot Farley Sllt:jJherd ... Murdoch i\'la cQuarric Organ Grinder .. SIt:ve Soldi Bus Driver . . Charles.J ordan Whistling Co/> ...... George Ford Mrs. Ha1lsen . Reil y Roadman ""omaH .. Connie Leon Second ll'omwl . .... l-i cnri ctta Hurnsidc Pat.ient . . . . .......... Lida N icova Cafe Pro/nietor ......... .. . John Piffle Mounted Poli ceman . ....... Hud Geary Street Poli ceman. . Eddie Dew Blandie . . . . . ~Iary Halsey Pantit er ...... 0 Ylla milc Stunlman. Louis ROlh Cat Voice . . . . Dorothy Lloyd

During her wedding party at the Belgrade Cafe, a mysterious cat-like woman (Elizabeth Russell) addresses trena (Simone Simon) in Serbian as "my sister."


CAT PE OPLE. Mu s uraca 's work for L ew ton (for who mh es h o l fiv e hOITor film s allog-el h e r) esta bli s hed him as a maSler of hi g hl y dramali c lighli n g-. Hi s di slin c live lechnique is n o\\' celehra ted as till' quinlessenli a l fillll /loi,. s tyle. Afl er makin g- a strin g- o f sim ilar/ y alillos plll'ric film s, inclndin g TH E SPIRAL STAIRCASE ( 194', ). THE LOCKET ( 1(J-16) a nd O UT OF THE P AST ( 1<)47), h e co mpl a in ed billcrly Ihal h e h ad beco1Jle Iyp ecas l aga in , thi s lilll l' as a Ill )'s Ll' r y l'X P(,rI , a nd wou ld lik e 10 s h ool m o re " n ormal " picl ures for a \\'h ile. Des pite L ew ton 's detcnnin atioll to eschl'w I h e u s ual ('0 11\'(' ))1 io n s of h orror film " Ihl' lesso n s of Ih e m as lers wer e lI ot los lUPUIl hill l. M o r c illllov (I -

li o n s in so und recordin g- techniqu e welT illiroduced in m ys tery a nd h orror fi l1Jl s th a n in Ihe more readil y accept ed 1l1ains tr(';tlll work s. I .cw Lo n was adamanl th a I di a logll c s ho llid be used o nl y w h e n Ihe slOry co uld n o t he adva n c('d Ihrough th c combinati o n of vis ual ilnage a nd n a tura l so und . Whc n th e cos t accou Illing office d em ;lIl dcd 10 know wh y J o hn Cass's recordin g cr('w worked a n cx tra three days on CAT PEOPLE , il was cxp lained Ih a l t h ey spcnl o n c da y a t G ay's Lion Farm r eco rdin g th e grow Is ami roars of thc big ca ts a nd two da ys at th e indoor sw immin g poo l o f thc Ro yal P a l m s h Olel record in g rever bna ti on effects. A voca l Dr. Judd (Tom Conway) tries to psychoanalyze Irena (Simone Simon) .

efkels ann:ss, Doro l h y Ll oyd , w,,, hired 10 <Tea te Ihe cat n oises . Th e , wdio hosses regarded a ll thi s LUI USUa ll y eXl ravag-a nt for a " W' pinure. U n w illin g 10 sC 1l1e for I.h c p ast ich e 1l1lISicai scores n orma ll y asse1Jlbled for low hu dgel pi c i urcs, L""'lO n CO IlfelTe d w ith Illll s ica l din.'clo r Co ll sIClIl -

lin Bakaleiniko ff a nd composcr R o y We bb lo n g beforc th c scrccnpl ay was und er\\' ay. W c bb was broug- h t inlo Ih c slOry s('ss io n s to cOlHrihul l' illeas for lin killg- vi s uals w ith mu s ic. Lik e most fil1Jl co mpose rs, \II (' hb " .," acc usto m ed 10 be in g co ns ult ed o nl y afler I h e ph o lograph y was co m pleled. H e la ter sa id I h a l by be in g ill volved in I h e pl a nnin g h e was "ble 10 prO\'ilk a 11 lOr<: dfenive score. " Wl' were sl'arc hin g fo r a 11IIlaby Ih l' lll l' Sllil l'd LO a slOry a bo llt cats," wrO ll' L cw to n . '路S0 I11l'lhin g- \viLh a h "u lliin g, In l'morable qlla lil y so me\\' h a l like thl' s h u rt bit from 'A nitra 's Dan ce' w hi c h was useu so IlH.' lllor abl y in the (;<:rman picture M. And we w;IIH ed a lillie slrai n of musi c lO be s un g- o r hllmnl ('d by the h eroi ne, 10 h ave a ca t-like feeling a nd a sini ster n o te o f m e nace." U nfort unat c ly, n o n e o f Ih e co mpos iLi o n s considered had th e qualitics L cwton walllcd. The n o n e da y o n th c set, Simon e Simon sa n g for L ew ton a tradilion a l Frl' n c h 11I1laby s h c re m e mbered from childhood, Do, /) 0, Baby /) 0. W c bb a g reed I hat it would make a n id ea l leillnoliv for th e film. A RlIss ia n w riler, A ndre i To lslOi , was hired to tra n s la te Ih l' lyri cs int o RlI ss ia n a nd coach t h e ;tcll....SS in Ihe p roper pronunc iat io n a nd del ivcry. Allhuug h Ih c s trin gelll budg-ets o f " 8 " film s did n OI pl'nnit a g reat d ca l o f v isua l effec ls wo rk , Ver n o n Wa l k<:r's e xce ll c nl ca m e ra effects departmenl m a d e importa nl cO lllri buti o n s 10 Ih e produclio n . Vele ra n techni ca l artist AI S impso n , a fl er readin g a reques t fro m L ewton fo r c h a n ges in a malte p a inting, scribbled a n ol.l' 10 hi s boss: "Geltin g damn ed h a rd 10 pleasl' Ih esc 'g ' prod ll cers." Linwood Dunn , c hi ef of lh e op li cal dl'pa rtm Cnl , co mpos il c d a beau li fu ll y cra fl l'd c1rea mmOlllage of gra ceful , C:l l1irllal cu art deeo pan ll ll'rs, a nd diffllsed im ag-es of Tom Con way in a n Cil' lIl ar m or bra ndi sh in g a s word , a crucia l im agl' in the swry. H e a lsu supp li l'd spccia llra ns ili u n a l w i pes th a i Wl'I'(' de libera te l y sof l edgcd a n d un cve n so as to resemb le cUTI or ph ous s h aduws cross i n g Lh e screc n . Th l' nlOsl m e m o ra ble opl. ica l effeCl s h ows S imo n e Si m on beginnin g to ch a n gc into a ca t after be in g ki ssed by

Tom Co nw ay. II h ad bl'l'n d ec ided (() avo id a n y scell es s h ow in g (I ll ((clll a i 11l l' 1;!I II Orp il osis

fr olll

\\'0 111 (1 11

to

p a ll l h e r , bUI up o n v i('wi n g lit e sC qU l'Il Cl' T 'o ur ll l' ur a n d L('W IOIl aweed t h a t lh l' c10se llp o f Ih l' b"byf;lc('d aeUl'SS backing- awa y fronl Ih (' ca nl l'ra fa il ed to con vey s ullici (,1l1 m e ll acl' lojus Li fy th e foll o\\' in g- nll o f C() n \v~ I Y n:coiiin g ill h orror. " ' 1"11<.'1'(' \\I ;IS IlO prepar a Li o n of <I ll )' kind fo r Ih " ('ffeCl, o therwi se il wo uld h avl' bl'en easy," Dunn said. " I m ade h ('r darken by a complica ted ap plica ti o n of densil Y ma nipula tio n <Old mask ing." Prin c ipa l photograph y for CAT PEOPLE was complel ed in 2~ days w ilh a blldg-et of 1) 1/ 8,9'18, quick ly r('v isl'd to $ 1-11, 659 afler s hooli n g hega n . Th l' pi c i ur(' was actua ll y broug-h t in under bu dg-e t a l $ 13'1,959. O s trow w anted to firl" i'ourn e Ul' aftl'r vil'w in g I h e firs t three da ys of rus h es, but o n ce ag-a in Kocrn er supported L ewton <md the produ ction proceeded s m oothl y. So m e of th e d e p a nm e lll It ('a ds g rumbl ed abo ut L ew ton 's fa s tidiou sn ess, w hi c lt e" tl'nded evcn 10 lhe cred it titles. H e ins is ted that the wri tin g cred it be ( h a n ged to " \IIriu e n by ... " instead uf " Orig inal Screen Pla y by ... " beca use it would makea "s moo the r a nd more laSldlll " lill e carll. H av in g c1 cared Ihi s pO illl wi lh th e scTee ll wr itcrs g uild , It l' had th e w rit er's ca rli Inovell f!,()ln its C U S IOlll a ry position (preceeding- the lecllni ca l n edits) to appear be twee n the p rodu cer a nd dircClOr cred it s. L ew to n beli cvcd the wr iter sh ou ld rece ivc equ a l recognition w ilh thc d irector a nd producl'r. L l'WlO n a lso in sis tl'd upo n open in g a ild closin g Ihl' film w ith lite rary CJll ola lion s-a n Llll CU llllllOll deli cacy ('ve il ClJl l o n g' th e 111 0 1"(' pn:If 'llIioti S fi Im s of th e lime. 路j 路lt l' film is prefaced by a quo te fro m a worksllpposcdl y by Dr. Loui s .J LIlld , T iI,' ;/ lavislI1 of Fea r: "E ven as fog conlinll l's 10 li e in th (' va lleys, so UOL'S all c icllt sill clin g to tlt e luw places, lite depress io n s in I Ill' world 's co n scio u sn css." In slead o f Ih e Ira dilion a l e nd titl e, a qu o tati o ll from .J o hn Do nn e 's H o ly SOn n l'1 V app(,a rs: " Bill bl ack s in has co n dl'llln 'd to e ndless ni g-hl M y wor ld , bOI h pari S, a nd bot lt parts mll sl dil'. " ' rlle previ cw was a g-rC(l l stl cn:ssIIl1l Cil to t Ill' ; 1I11 <lZ(, lll l' lll of I ll os t of tIl L' SllIdio execuliv(,s. It was d ecided , It owever, Ihalthc pamher, wh ic h It ad bee n r('pr('s('nled in th e or ig in a l vers ion o nl y hI' indi s tinct s h a d ows, mus l bcs h ow n in th es('qu e n cew h ('r(' it Lhrea len s Oli ver a nd A li ce in hi s draflin g- roo m at work . T ra in er Mel

IRENA'S TRANSFORMATION at the climax was suggested by a Linwood Dunn optical effect (left), which darkened , added reflections, and provided movement to what was an ordinary close-up. Irena 's attack on the doctor is depicted almost entirely with shadows, against a room divider (middle), and wall (right). Koo nl Z a lld Iti s panl h ('r were brou g-hl ba c k for o n e da y of filmin g. Throu g-h clever s tag-in g by TOllrn l' ur a nd cul tin g by R o bso n , th e lhrel' o bli gatory CIl IS o f Ihe G il see m a lm os l imag inary, yel a re s uffici e llil y pa lpa ble 10 sa ti sfy I h e dema nds o f t h c l110 re lil cra l minded . CAT P EO PL E proved 10 be a bi g IIl U II(' Ylll ake r , o LiLgr oss in g Illll Ch

higger pictures ill )n a ll Yc iti es. IL a lso recc ived w id l' accla im wi lhin lh l' indll slry. Dav id Sell.lIick, in a Ieun lO Ko('rn e r, said , " I w is h Ihal olh er s tudios were lurnin g Olll sm a ll budget pinures that were comparabl e in illlelli g-en ce a nd tas tc wit h LewlO n 's first film. " BUI thl' film is n o t 10l a ll y fla w less; Ih erc are occas io n a l clums y 1110 m e nl s a nd Ih l' L e wto n -T o urncur lea m is a bi l 100 co ntin c n ta l 10 put over the idca o f ordinary work in g peopl('\vit h COJllpielc co )) vi c ti on. II is a d ass ic, n el'ert hel ess, both for ils o \\'n intrin sic va lli e '-Ind, as a turnin gpo illt ill the genre, wilh its effect ivel y m aca bre Slyle tlt a t relied on s u g-gest in g lhe pn:sl'nceof th e nlOnSler withoul ,ICI u all y s how in g il. Thi s lechniqu e h as be e n o ft en imil a l(,d , bUI rart' l y improvl'd IIpo n . Whil e it is a sto ry o f good versus ev il. il is h a rdl y as simplis tic as llt al. Iren a is dri ven to ev il by fo rces beyond he r conlrol , as a rc th e cenlra l c h aracters in a ll o f L ewto n 's h o rror fi lm s. Th e litl e c haracter o f L ew to n 's TI I E LEOPARD MA N Slatcs Ihe case pl'rfectly as h e waLches a hall da n c ing- in Ih (' je l o f a fo ulHain : " W e know as lillie o f tlt e fo rces Ih a l m ove lIS and movc Ih e wo rld a round us a s Ihat e mpty ba ll. " SilllOn e Simo n cap lures Irc n a's ;lIn bi va icil ( 11 (1 II Ir<' very wel l. ll e r n atura l c hild- like c h a rm is d isarmin g . She cOll veys qui ck ly that s h e is fearridd(,ll , but it is o nl y g raduall y , h al s h e he lr;]ys a n y hilll of th e s ini s ter. Ke lll S mith a nd .J a n e Rando lph a rc s uffic ic llti ) dow n- to-can /) 10 crea te a rea I iSi ic a m bi ell ce Ih a lm akes I h da n tasy m ore bel i('vable. Co n way is a co n v in c in g- Dr. Judd, a role Ih a t cou ld h av(' bel'll in l'xp li ca bl<: if less sk illfull y pla yed. Both Mu s uraca 's phol og r a ph y a nd Kell er 's sels arc p erfectl y keyed.


Interiors have the kind of delicate shadings found in fin e etchings, with ri ch shadows and strikin g highlights. The eXLeriors arc also strong on atmosphere, wiLh change of seasons cl early defin ed , from the Indian summer beginning Lhroug h the rain, snow a nd mist of wim er. The usc o f sound is equally creative. Th e di sLa11l no ises o f the omnipreselll zoo animals, the Lerrifying echos in the swimming pool , Lhe clackin g o f high heels during a chase Lhrou g h th e park, the sudden hush as Lhe pursuit becomes a sil e11l one, Lhe rustling o f leaves in da rkness, the n erve-jarring hiss ing o f a ir bra kes o n a bus a t the insta 11l o ne expects a deadl y p a 11lher 10 leap i11l0 the scene -these a re sounds cunning ly married to the vi sua ls to in spire un ease, fca r, suspense a nd shock. T h e bus gag proved so su ccessful tha t Lewto n u sed it in o ther films and w hetherth e intruder was a tra in , CI horse, a tumbl eweed o r

a ll

A p ach e \va rrio r, L e w-

to n a l;"ays ca ll ed it a 路路bus." R oy We bb 's ' mu s ic co nveys a n underc urre nt o f m en ace w itho ut becoming o btrusive, addin g immeasura bl y to th e ga therin g a tmos phere o f dread. It m es hes per fectl y with Mu smaca 's ph o tog ra phi c style (th e tea min g was o ft en repca ted ). Th e dcpl oy m ent o f Iren a 's childi sh son g as co untcrpo int to a heav il y dra ma ti c theme is in geni o u s. Th e subt leti es o f th e fillll a rc 100 Tl t.lI11 Cr O US 10 ca ta logue. 'fh crc a r c, fo r exa mple, the ca t im ages th a t p ermeat c the scenes. Th l' most prom incnt prop in Irena's 'lJ)artlll e11l is a fo ldill g' scree n upo n w hi ch is pa int ed a hall dso ll1e art dcco pa llth er s lillkillg th ro llgh the j u ngle, a mOLifintroduced ea rli er as a title backgro und . A G o ya prillt ill whi ch cats appear hall gs illth ea p a rtnl ellt. a lld th ere arc tiger lillies ill a flori st sho p window. And therc is a nice 1l 10 1llent wh en Ali n', shudd erillg beca use she se nses she is being wa tched , ex pl ai ns Lh a t " A ca t just wa lk ed over my g rave." Perh a ps so m e o f th e psycho logica l fea r th a t do min a Les CAT P EOPL E deri ves from th e fact th a t Lcwto n hilll sc if Il a d w h at h e ("( II led

ti c rcal of cat s." LewlO n wellt

O il

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Though RKO's tille and ad cam ai .. Oliver (Kent Smith) asks Irena (~. gn were "ure explOitation, Lewton's film Imone SImon), "But what does King J h was a Sublle, artistic exercise. o n of SerbIa have to do 'th ?" nlOlT pictures for RKO , a ll but lwo of WI us.

th em in the horro r genrc. All were d istin ct ive; several a pproachcd perft-c t io n . T h ey were: I WA l.K E D WITH A ZOMBI E, TH E L EOPA RD MAN, TlI ESE VENTH VICTIM a ndTHEGIIOSTSIIIP ( 19'13); T H E CU RSE OF TH E C AT PEOPL E, YOll TII R UNS WI LD a lld M A DE M OI S ELI .E FIFI ( 19'1'1 ); IS LE OF T IlE D EA D a nd THE BO DY SN ATC HER ( 1915); a n d BED L AM ( 19'16). All were p redi ca ted li ke CAT PE O PLE o n " int e lli gell( "(" a nd tas te " a nd , as th e Litks s ugges t, a ll were ex pl o it ed in th e Ill os t lurid """IIl(' !", Le\\" to ll "'as thro ug hl y d ise ncha nted w ith RK O by th e Illid"IOs, a nd a ft er Koern er di ed o f \Cuke-

Val Lewton (right) with CAT PEOPLE editor-turned-director Mark Robson and Boris Karloff during the filming 01 BEDLAM, Lewton 's last RKO horror film in 1946.

mi a , h e rea lized he cou ld Il ever achi evc hi s a mbiti o ns there. U nfo rtuna tely, he was never smisfi cd w ith hi s work aga ill. Durin g stint s a t Pa ra mo unt a nd MG M, he p roduced w hat he cons idered hi s worst pi cturcs and a n a llcmptt o fo rl1l an indep endent com pa n y fa il cd a ft er aseri eso fdi sagreemcnts.Onl y for hi s las t p rod u c ti o n , a Tec hni co lo r wes tern ca ll ed APACHE DR U MS ( 195 1), did h e get back to Lh cforl1lul as he esta blished w ith hi s RKO film s, us in g suspense, terror, psycho logica l iu s ig htand arti stry to great effect. li e di ed ill Ma rch o f 195 1 whil e cngaged o n pre p ro du c ti o n wo rk for th e S tanl ey Kra m er Compa n y. Th e o ther m embcrs o f the RKO ho rro r unit wenL o n with lo ng a nd illus Lri o us ca reers. 'l'o urn eur, w ho direcLed LwO oth er Lew to n film s (I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE a nd TH E L EO P ARD MA N), di rectcd a tota l o f 28 p ict u res. Ma rk Ro bson a lld Ro ben Wi se, wh o both sta rted as editors. evelltua ll y directed fillll s fo r Lew ton. Wi se directed T HE CU RSE O F THE C AT PEOPLE, TH E BODY SNATC IIER and 路went o n to direct THE DA Y THE EA RTII STOOD ST ILL a nd THE A NDROMEDA STRAIN . DevVitt Bodeellwas promoted a ft er w ritin g SEVENT H VICTIM a nd THE CU RSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE , and co ntribu ted scri p ts fo r man y success ful pi ctures, includin g I REMEMBER MA MA ( 191 7) a nd BILLY B DO ( 1962). Th o ug h it retea med Kent S miLh a nd S im o ll c S im o n , THE CU RSE OF T I-I ECAT PEOPLE was a n o bliqu e fo ll ow up to the original with a tota ll y different sla nt, a poeti c fa ntasy centerin g o n

Oli ver's lilli e da u g hter, w hoconjures up Irena as a beni g n , im aginary pl ayma te. "' I think it 's ove rr atcd , " sa id Bodee n o f th e fo ll ow up. " Va l a nd I had a di spULC over it beca use he complet e ly rewro te th e cndin g I'd do nc. I think hi s endill g ruin cd it. [I .ew to n 's elldin g suggests Ircna's spirit is purely imag in a ry. ] I wa nted it 10 be mo re supern a tura l, m o rc o f a ho rror SlOry. Lewto n resent ed bcing co n s id e red a ho rro r sp cc ia li s l, I think . But it was wha t he did best. " In a 191 '1 press rc\case, Lewton slnlllll ed u p hi s a p proach to th e h orror film in o n e sho rt pa ragrap h. H e was spea kill go fTH ES EVENTH VICT I M, but thc formul a a ppli cs to C AT PEOPLE as we ll : "This pi ct ure's ap pea l, Iikc Lh a t o f it s predecessors, is bascd on Lhree fund a m e uL a l lh eo ri es," h e sa id. " First is tha t a udi ences w ill people a n y pa tch o f prep a rcd da rkll ess w ith mo re ho rro r, suspense a nd fri g htfulness lh tl lllh c Inos!. inlag in a li vl' writer could drea m up. Seco nd, a nd most impo rt a nt, is the fa ct th a t eXLrao rdin a ry thin gs ca ll h appe n to ve ry o rdin a ry peopl e. And third is to use th e bea uty o f the seltill g a lld ca mera work to wa rd o ff a udiell ce la ug hter a t situa tioll s w hi ch , wh en less bea utifull y p h olOgraph ed , mi g ht see m ludi cro us. " By th ese mean s was Va l Lewton able to dra lllati ze m a n 's n a tu ra l fear o f the lin know n , o f thin gs th a t ca n ' t be seen bllt o lll y imag in ed . Th ro ug h th e reSO llr ces o f th e c in e m a h e e xpressed th e lllli ve rs" l, p rimitiv e f('(l rs allu s upers titioll s lhal s ur vive ill

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SIMONE SIMON KENT SMITH TOM CONWAY JANE RANDOLPH JACK HOLT PRODUCED BY VAL LEWTON DIRECTED BY JACQUES TOURNEUR

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ASK NATIONAL SCREEN SERVICE RAY ADDITIONAL POSTERS, ACCESSORIES AND TRAILER THE CAST Irena Dubrovna . Oliver Reed ....

.SIMONE SIMON KENT SMITH

Dr. Judd ........ . ..

. ... TOM CONWAY

Alice Moore . . . . .. JANE RANDOLPH The Commodore .

JACK HOLT

Carver .....

Alan Napier

Miss Plunkett ....

Elizabeth Dunne

The Cot Woman

Elizabeth Russell

THE STAFF wiU

SIMONE SIMON KENT SMITH TOM CONWAY JANE RANDOLPH JACK HOLT

Produced by VAL LEWTON Directed b y JACQUES TOURNEUR Mus;c by Roy Webb; Mus ical Director, C. Bakaleini. leoff; Director of Photography, Ni cholas Musuroca, A.S.C.; Art Directors, Albert S. D' Agostino, Walter E. Keller; Set De corations, Darre ll Silvera, AI Fields; Gowns by Renie ; Recorded by John t . Cau; Edited by Mark Robson ; A ssistant Directo r, Doran Cox . Footage, 6 .534 Ft . Runn ing Time, 73 Mins .

ONE SHEET

22 CopyrIght 1 9~7. RKO Radio Pinu res

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neW Sp&pC'fS, mapzinQ and other public-alions fO reprin, Or reproduce any of the ma~rial or phOIOgnophl concainC'd in this campG;8n book.

Val Lewton's Cat People  

In depth article on Val Lewton's 1942 classic "Cat People."

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