Cat People (1943)

USA, 1943
73m, 1991.56 metres
35mm film, black and white, 1.37:1
mono, English

An American horror film directed by Jacques Tourneur.

Plot Summary

Irena Dubrovna has a terrible fear – that she’s the descendant of a legendary race of “cat people” and that she will transform into a murderous cat if she becomes sexually aroused. When she falls in love with and marries Oliver Reed, her belief puts a strain on their relationship – but is it all in her mind or is she really cursed?


* = uncredited

Directed by: Jacques Tourneur
Copyright MCMXLIII [1943] RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. presents
Produced by: Val Lewton
Production Supervisor: Lou Ostrow *
Written by: DeWitt Bodeen
Story: Val Lewton *, DeWitt Bodeen *
Assistant Director: Doran Cox
Dialogue Director: DeWitt Bodeen *
Director of Photography: Nicholas Musuraca
Edited by: Mark Robson
Assistant Editor: Robert Aldrich *
Music by: Roy Webb
Musical Director: C. Bakaleinikoff
Russian Lyrics: Andrey Tolstoy *
Orchestrations: Leonid Raab *, John Leipold *
Recorded by: John L. Cass
RCA Sound System
Gowns by: Renié
Photographic Effects: Vernon L. Walker [both uncredited], Linwood G. Dunn [both uncredited]
Art Directors: Albert S. D’Agostino, Walter E. Keller
Set Decorations: Darrell Silvera, Al Fields
Animal Trainer: Mel Koontz *

Simone Simon (Irena Dubrovna Reed)
Kent Smith (Oliver Reed)
Tom Conway (Dr Louis Judd)
Jane Randolph (Alice Moore)
Jack Holt (Commodore C.R. Cooper)
Steve Soldi [organ grinder] *
Alan Napier [‘Doc’ Carver] *
John Piffle [The Belgrade proprietor] *
Elizabeth Dunne [Miss Plunkett] *
Elizabeth Russell [cat woman] *
Alec Craig [zoo keeper] *
Dot Farley [Mrs Agnew, concierge] *
Theresa Harris [Minnie, waitress] *
Charles Jordan [bus driver] *
Murdock MacQuarrie [shepherd] *
Donald Kerr [taxi driver] *
Mary Halsey [blonde swimming pool clerk] *
Betty Roadman [Mrs Hansen] *
Eddie Dew [street policeman] *
Terry Walker [hotel attendant] *
Connie Leon [woman] *
Henrietta Burnside [second woman] *
Dynamite [panther] *
Dorothy Lloyd [cat voice] *
George Ford [whistling cop – scenes deleted]
Leda Nicova [patient – scenes deleted]
Bud Geary [mounted policeman – scenes deleted]

Alternative Titles

Il bacio della pantera – Italy
La dona pantera – Spain (Catalan)
La Féline – France
Katzenmenschen – Germany
Kissaihmiset – Finland
Ludzie-koty – Poland
La marca de la pantera – Argentina
La mujer pantera
– Spain
A Pantera
– Portugal
– Sweden
Sangue de Pantera
– Brazil

The Curse of the Cat People (1944)

Cat People (1982)

Extracts included in
78/52 (2017)
A History of Horror: Part One Frankenstein Goes to Hollywood (2010)
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies (1995)
Precious Images (1986)

See also
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
Bride of Monster Mania (2000)
Cat People: An Intimate Portrait by Paul Schrader (2002)
Cry of the Werewolf (1944)
Final Destination (2000)
Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
Rumik World: Warau hyôteki (1987)
The Seventh Victim (1943)



  • Cahiers de la Cinémathèque no.20 (July 1976) pp.28-29
  • Camera/Stylo no.6 (May 1986) pp.94-107
  • Castle of Frankenstein no.4 p.7
  • Castle of Frankenstein no.8 p.38
  • Castle of Frankenstein no.16 pp.22, 24
  • CineAction! no.52 (June 2000) pp.49-55 – illustrated article (Cat People and its “two worlds” by Jason Wilcox)
  • Cinefantastique vol.12 no.4 (May 1982) pp.22-27 – illustrated article (Val Lewton’s Cat People by George Turner)
  • Cinema Journal vol.33 no.1 (Autumn 1993) pp.26-42; 55-58 – article (What Alice does: looking otherwise at Cat people by John Berks); article (by Karen Hollinger)
  • CinémAction no.114 (2005) pp.60-63 – illustrated credits, article (Cinquante couples insolites: La féline by Michel Serceau)
  • CinémAction no.120 (2006) pp.39-45; 56-66; 67-77; 78-85 – illustrated article (Le cinéma des traces: notes sur la collaboration de Jacques Tourneur by Chris Fujiwarae and Larysa Smirnova); article (Parcours dans les ténèbres: quelques ‘walks’ tourneuriens by Gilles Menegaldo); illustrated articloe (La féline: Le visible et l’invisible by Pascal Couté); article (Monstrueuses mutations: Tourneur et la question de la transformation by Ian Conrich)
  • Classic Images no.89 (November 1982) p.26 – review
  • Empire no.125 (November 1999) p.26 – illustrated review (New films by Andrew Collins)
  • Enclitic vol.8 no.1/2 (Spring/Autumn 1984) pp.148-155
  • Film Comment vol.8 no.2 (Summer 1972) pp.64-70
  • Film Criticism vol.13 no.2 (Winter 1989) pp.36-46 – article (The monster as woman: Two generations of Cat People)
  • Film Ireland no.83 (October/November 2001) pp.42-44 – illustrated article (Shadows: Jacques Tourneur’s cinema of ambiguity by Gwenda Young)
  • Kinematograph Weekly no.1870 (18 February 1943)
  • The Listener vol.118 no.3019 (9 July 1987) p.35
  • Literature/Film Quarterly vol.25 no.4 (1997) pp.291-299 – illustrated article (The Transformation of Woman: The “Curse” of the Cat Woman in Val Lewton/Jacques Tourneur’s “Cat People”, Its Sequel, and Remake by Linda Rohrer Paige)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.48 no.570 (July 1981) p.144
  • Motion Picture Herald vol.149 no.7 (14 November 1942)
  • Movieline vol.10 no.7 (April 1999) pp.66-69, 88 – illustrated article (Off at the deep end by Edward Margulies)
  • Music, Sound, and the Moving Image vol.1 no.1 (Spring 2007) pp.27-49 – article (Sound affects: post-production sound, soundscapes and sound design in Hollywood’s studio era by Helen Hanson)
  • Post Script vol.2 no.1 (Autumn 1982) pp.40-59
  • Radio Times vol.232 no.3008 (4-10 July 1981) pp.6-7 – illustrated article (Tasteful terror, elegant unease by Geoff Brown)
  • Sight and Sound vol.12 no.45 (Summer 1943) p.5
  • Soundtrack! The Collector’s Quarterly vol.9 no.36 (December 1990) pp.12-14 – illustrated article
  • Starburst no.47 (1982) pp.47-50
  • Today’s Cinema vol.60 no.4839 (12 February 1943)
  • Total Film no.34 (November 1999) p.106 – illustrated review (Cat people/Curse of the Cat People by Tom Dawson)
  • Wide Angle vol.10 no.3 (1988) pp.30-39 – illustrated article (“Like unto a leopard”: Figurative discourse in Cat People (1942) and Todorov’s “The Fantastic” by Tom Gunning)


  • Diário de Notícias, DNmais 21 November 1998 – review (by José De Matos-Cruz)


  • After Dracula: The 1930s Horror Film by Alison Peirse pp.12, 38, 58
  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.78-79
  • A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series by Ken Hanke pp.141-143; 152
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.50, 142, 350, 365, 402
  • Fear Itself: Horror on Screen and in Reality During the Depression and World War II by Melvin E. Matthews Jr pp.146-149
  • Feature Films, 1940-1949: A United States Filmography by Alan G. Fetrow p.76
  • Hollywood Cauldron: Thirteen Films from the Genre’s Golden Age pp.206-237
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.54
  • Horrorshows: The A-Z of Horror in Film, TV, Radio and Theatre by Gene Wright pp.215-216  – illustrated credits, review
  • Recovering 1940s Horror Cinema: Traces of a Lost Decade by Mario DeGiglio-Bellemare, Charlie Ellbé and Kristopher Woofter (eds.) pp.xiii, 5, 68-69, 81n5, 90, 104, 143n7, 194, 222n2, 231, 282, 288, 334
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.59 – credits
  • The RKO Features by James L. Neibaur p.46 – credits, synopsis
  • RKO Radio Pictures Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, 1929-1956 by Michael R. Pitts p.54-58
  • Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Film Sequels, Series, and Remakes by Kim R. Holston and Tom Winchester p.72-73
  • Terror Tracks: Music, Sound and Horror Cinema by Philip Hayward (ed) p.7
  • Top 100 Horror Movies by Gary Gerani p.151 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • The Werewolf Filmography by Bryan Senn p.357

Other sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide December 2022 p.19 – illustrated listing
  • BFI Southbank Guide October-November 2017 p.59 – illustrated listing