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-curse of the cat people--


thistledown
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This film is a lovely fantasy which is disguised as a horror film . It is the story of a little child named Amy Reed [Ann Carter] who dosen't seem to fit the mold of "normal" child.

She is taken to daydreaming and seems to live in her own world of fantasy--back in the day when all children had to fit a certain mold. It shows her waiting for the children to arrive at her birthday party, and her father asks her is she sure she mailed the invitations, she assures him she did and shows him a hole in a tree wher she put them. her father had told her it was a magic mailbox,

The children in the neighborhood run away from her and she starts to talk to a voice coming from an old house, someone throws a key to her and she enters the house to find an old woman

who lives with her daughter. Apparantly the woman thinks her daughter[Elizabeth Russell]

is an imposter, next it show her playing in her garden she makes a wish on a ring the old woman gave her and she wishes for a friend, all of a sudden a beautiful lady, dressed as Juliet, appears and tells her she will be her special friend, The seasons pass and the two friends become very close--until the day she opens a draw and a photograph of her "friend' falls out"--it seems the friend in the garden is her fathers first wife--I don't want to spoil the movie in case you havent seen it

if you watch this see if you catch the line her teacher says to her mother

"Don't interfere, a childs first spanking is very important"

 

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YES! a wonderful Fantasy film directed partially by Robert Wise( The Day The Earth Stood Still) which explains the great directing in this film, is also a tad misleading as it really has NOTHING to do with Cat people! The Original film named " Cat People" was indeed a Horror movie but this one is more fantasy and such a touching with a most chilling atmosphere - a wonderful 1944 Black & white film that would be a grand addition to anyone's collection ( its in Mine!) Simone Simone who plays the lead is pure wonderfulness and though its suppose to be a " sequel" to CAT PEOPLE really the two do not have that much in common -

 

a great film to see if you have not so grab your popcorn or a nice glass of wine , turn down the lights and enjoy this ethereal film!

 

Nicholas

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By the way, know one noticed the line said by the teacher about the spanking

 

this was filmed at a time when it was considered beneficial to spank a child.

[and the child was telling the truth]

 

maybe the curse was Amy was really Irena's child --meaning, she lived in a dream world more like Irena than Alice.

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*The Curse of the Cat People* is actually my second favorite Val Lewton film, trailing only *The Body Snatcher*. I think it's the most emotional of Lewton's films; it's quite touching.

 

CURSE OF THE SPOILER

 

It is the story of a little child named Amy Reed Ann Carter who dosen't seem to fit the mold of "normal" child.

 

I think you hit the nail on the head, Thistledown. *The Curse of the Cat People* is a film about societal unacceptance of imagination, creativity, and individual uniqueness. Amy Reed (Ann Carter) is considered "weird," so she is quickly shunned by her fellow classmates. This places her in an isolated world to which she has to rely on her imagination and creativity to spawn a world of acceptance. She wants a "friend."

 

Amy has two great friends in the film in Irena (Simone Simon), her imaginary friend, and Mrs. Julia Farren (Julia Dean). Both of them understand her.

 

Mrs. Farren first reaches Amy by throwing her a ring. The ring absolutely captivates Amy and elicits great wonderment. It's a "wishing" ring. She has completely captured Amy. In the subsequent scene, Amy's father (Kent Smith) "rewards" Amy for playing with the others by giving her a model ship that he has built. Even though giving such a gift is an unselfish act by Amy's father, it's also quite selfish, since the ship brings him far more personal satisfaction than Amy. He's not reaching Amy. Mrs. Farren will soon reach Amy again, this time with her telling of "The Headless Horseman." Amy's senses are being aroused.

 

One of the most fascinating aspects of the film is the relationship between Mrs. Farren and her daughter, Barbara (Elizabeth Russell). I still haven't figured out the meaning of their relationship just yet. My only guess is that Mrs. Farren has mentally killed off her daughter by ignoring her, thus abandoning her emotionally. Like Amy, Mrs. Farren has created an imaginary world. Unlike Amy's imaginary world, Mrs. Farren's abandonment is real and harmful. To make things worse, Mrs. Farren lavishes Amy with greater attention than her own daughter. Why can't Barbara be like the other children?

 

I consider the ending to *The Curse of the Cat People* to be the greatest of all Lewton's films, with *The Seventh Victim* a very close second. It's the only moment in a Lewton film where I tear up. It's an emotional rollercoaster; very powerful.

 

 

"I wish for a friend."

 

"Amy is a nice girl, only a little different."

 

"You know what I wished, Daddy? I wished I could be a good girl. I can make this sort of a wish come true. I'll be just like Daddy wants me to be; play with the other children... not sit around by myself... tell the truth."

 

"Your mother may excuse it as 'imagination', but I call it just plain lying, and I'll have none of it, understand?"

 

"We'll pretend this is the stage."

 

"Well, I guess we're not a very proper family."

 

"A liar? An imposter? Your own daughter? You called me that. Yet you're sweet and kind to the little girl, a stranger. Look at me. I'm your daughter."

 

"My daughter, Barbara, died when she was six. That was long ago. You're only the woman who takes care of me."

 

"I like stories."

 

"It is more beautiful than I imagined."

 

"She's there whenever I call her."

 

"If that child comes here again, I'll kill her. Yes, I'll kill her."

 

"Even my mother's last moments, you've stolen from me."

 

"I thought we lost you. I thought I'd never find you again."

 

"Amy, from now on, you and I are going to be friends. I'm gonna trust you. I'm gonna believe in you. You like that, don't you?"

 

"Is your friend in the garden? Can you see Irena now? I see her, too, darling."

 

"My friend? My friend? My friend. My friend."

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Actually the character of Oliver Reed leaves alot to be desired, as a husband and father

When he was married to Irena the poor girl was trying her best to be a good wife, he

puts the Alice character between them and they made her know she would not fit in--

Scene in Museum; Oliver and Alice tell her to leave because they think she wouldn't understand

ship design--Then they consider putting her in an asylum because her Overly- Amorous

psychyatrist is angry because she won't respond to his advances.

Now as for the child --He TOLD her the tree was a magic mailbox--then he constantly wants an adult response from a child who is a dreamer. the spanking is archaic~ and as for Alice , I found her to be a rather cold mother that holds her daughter at arms length, I notice she bonded with

the teacher fast enough.No wonder the child responded to Irena, and I love Irena's response to the little girls question , Where do you come from? Irena says "I come from a place of great sadness and deep peace" To me, the only stable character in the house seemed to be the East-Indian

houseboy, Sir Lancelot !

I wish someone knew the name of the lovely lullabye Simone Simon sang to the little girl

to put her to sleep.

 

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Hi, Thistledown -- Thank you for the compliment.

 

When he was married to Irena the poor girl was trying her best to be a good wife,

 

I'm not sure about this. Irena (Simone Simon) knows she cannot be "normal," and this is putting a serious strain on the marriage. She does agree to seek professional help for her condition, but she only attends one session. This depresses Ollie (Kent Smith) and makes him believe that she doesn't want to cure her problem, which in turn means that she doesn't want to fix their marriage.

 

Can't a man get some action from his own wife? How about a kiss?

 

he puts the Alice character between them and they made her know she would not fit in--

Scene in Museum; Oliver and Alice tell her to leave because they think she wouldn't understand

ship design

 

I agree with you here. I understand Ollie wanting to talk to someone about his troubles at home, and Alice (Jane Randolph) is the most logical choice since she is his best friend, but geez, he should know better. Ollie was definitely seeking sympathy and understanding from Alice and he knew he'd get it, too.

 

The museum scene is a very small one but a very important one. My sympathy towards Irena was born here. Irena was showing great interest in the museum yet Ollie told her to go away like a little dog. I felt terrible for Irena.

 

Now as for the child --He TOLD her the tree was a magic mailbox--then he constantly wants an adult response from a child who is a dreamer. the spanking is archaic

 

Terrific point. I view Amy's spanking in *The Curse of the Cat People* as ignorant punishment. We (society) tend to punish those who are different, especially children.

 

The majority of Val Lewton's films were highly personal for him. *The Curse of the Cat People* was one of his most personal because the relationship between "Ollie" and "Amy" was said to be modeled after his own relationship with his daughter, Nina.

 

"But I wanna be Mrs. Reed, really. I wanna be everything that name means to me. And I can't. I can't. Oliver, be kind, be patient. Let me have time. Time to get over that feeling there's something evil in me."

 

"I envy every woman I see on the street. I envy them. They're happy. They make their husbands happy. They lead normal, happy lives. They're free."

 

"You know it's a funny thing. I've never been unhappy before. Things have always gone swell for me. I had a grand time as a kid. Lots of fun at school and here at the office with you, the Commodore, and Doc. That's why I don't know what to do about all of this. I've just never been unhappy." This statement makes Alice cry.

 

"All this trouble has made me think... I don't know what love really is. I don't know even whether I'm in love with Irena."

 

"I know what love is. It's understanding. It's you and me and let the rest of the world go by. It's just the two of us, living our lives together, happily and proudly. No self torture and no doubt. It's enduring and everlasting. Nothing can change it. Nothing can change us, Ollie. That's what I think love is."

 

"Well, that isn't the way I feel about Irena. It's a different feeling. I'm drawn to her. There's a warmth from her that... pulls at me. I have to watch her when she's in the room. I have to touch her when she's near. But I don't really know her. In many ways, we're strangers."

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F.G. did you notice how well cast Cat People was down to the smallest part--

the waitress in the restaurant, the desk clerk in Alice's apartment house,

even the woman scrubbing floors [as she flicked her cigarette ashes]

these are the elements that make a masterpiece~

my point with Oliver was he KNEW Alice for years before he met Irena,

NOW he falls in love with her?

TCM will play their interview with Ann Carter in about a month,

I will record it and place it at the end of "Curse"

 

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Thistledown -- F.G. did you notice how well cast Cat People was down to the smallest part--the waitress in the restaurant, the desk clerk in Alice's apartment house,

even the woman scrubbing floors as she flicked her cigarette ashes

these are the elements that make a masterpiece~

 

I love all of the Lewton films that I have seen. They are rich in all areas. Acting is usually the area that receives the most criticism, but I tend to enjoy the acting on most levels. BronxGirl is someone who has voiced her dislike of Kent Smith and Jane Randolph in the two "Cat" films. I can't say that she's wrong, either.

 

You're very right about the small bit players in *Cat People*. They added great texture to an already strong film.

 

my point with Oliver was he KNEW Alice for years before he met Irena,

NOW he falls in love with her?

 

I think you may like the answer I'm about to give since you have mentioned your own frustrations with men and their seemingly never-ending pursuit of beautiful women. I think Ollie was equating love with sexual attraction. It's something many men get caught up in doing. Irena was sexually appealing to Ollie. Ironically, Irena offered him no sex in the end. This really sent Ollie off the deep end.

 

It took an Irena to clue Ollie in on Alice. Ollie could now "see" Alice. He was blind no longer.

 

Irena was not evil, she was disturbed. She wanted to love Ollie like Alice did but she couldn't. Her demons would not permit her to love. Her internal cage was eternal.

 

"She never lied to us."

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All grown up? your time line is a little off, this lovely lady is 72 years old. She lives in Seattle WA. with her husband---You can read all about her on the IMDb board--

Just type Curse of the Cat People IMDb

thats where I read about her upcoming interview with Robert Osborne~

Mr. Osborne will present a tribute to Val Lewton around Halloween

Ann Carter is part of the tribute, although she admits she had very little contact with him

 

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Whenever I'd see CAT PEOPLE and CURSE at retrospectives over the years, audiences always had distainful attitudes toward Smith and Randolph in both films. When the teacher made the spanking statement in CURSE, some people audibly hissed!

 

I've stated in other threads that the Lewton films are a bit awkward in presenting the "good"; i.e., Alice's "what I think love is" speech; Ollie's ignorance of unhappiness, Tom Conway reading The Lord's Prayer to the head-bowing satanists in THE SEVENTH VICTIM, etc.

 

Message was edited by: Bronxgirl48

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Bronxie -- Whenever I'd see CAT PEOPLE and CURSE at retrospectives over the years, audiences always had distainful attitudes toward Smith and Randolph in both films. When the teacher made the spanking statement in CURSE, some people audibly hissed!

 

I'd love to see the "Cat" films in a theater. That would be fun.

 

I think Smith and Randolph are far more unlikeable in *The Curse of the Cat People* than *Cat People*. I kind of liked them in *Cat People*. Well, that is, until they told Irena to go "lay down" in the museum. I turned into a cat person then.

 

I've stated in other threads that the Lewton films are a bit awkward in presenting the "good"; i.e., Alice's "what I think love is" speech; Ollie's ignorance of unhappiness, Tom Conway reading The Lord's Prayer to the head-bowing satanists in THE SEVENTH VICTIM, etc.

 

I like Alice's speech, but I'm a sucker for that. The Lord's Prayer scene in *The Seventh Victim* was quite odd. It came off as a scolding.

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Did any- one notice a scene from Cat People that got by the censors? It showed

Simone Simon taking a bath and it showed her nude back,

which was on the censor's list of no-no's. No backs or inner thighs!

I am, perhaps, Simone Simon's biggest fan--loved her in Devil and Daniel Webster

her entrance alone made history as one of the most sensual ever recorded~

she is discovered ,suddenly, sitting on the floor in front of the fire, by Jane Darwell

Darwell asks Who Are You ? Where did you come from? she lifts her head smiles right into

the camera and says "My name is Belle--and I come from the other side of the mountain"

This, along with Jane Greer's walking in from the sunlight as Kathy Moffat, is included on the tape Great Screen Entrances--

somrthing I noticed no one has said a word about Dastardly Tom Conway and his uncalled

for amorous advances for poor Irena--I thought him to be a swine!

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>>>It took an Irena to clue Ollie in on Alice. Ollie could now "see" Alice. He was blind no longer.<<<

 

In my opinion, I think Irena became the key Alice was able to use to finally get Ollie--because she was after him from the start and so I have always thought she was the real cat in Cat People. She was also a hypocrite or lying to herself about her motives and so it's not surprising the kid seemed more like Irena's child than her own (Alice's own observation in Curse).

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Bronxie -- When Alice and Ollie dismissed Irena at the museum in CAT PEOPLE, I wanted to pounce on them as well.

 

I actually think that scene plays awkwardly. I thought Ollie's harshness was out of character. It just felt odd. I guess Tourneur & Lewton wanted us to sympathize with Irena at that point. I was with her, that's for sure.

 

My sentiments, like you, are with the contents of Alice's "love" speech, even if it sounds corny as she speaks it.

 

Corny it is, my friend.

 

Miss Goddess -- In my opinion, I think Irena became the key Alice was able to use to finally get Ollie--because she was after him from the start and so I have always thought she was the real cat in Cat People. She was also a hypocrite or lying to herself about her motives and so it's not surprising the kid seemed more like Irena's child than her own (Alice's own observation in Curse).

 

I like your observation. When Alice lets Irena know she is aware of her and Ollie's "problem" in front of Ollie, it felt very "cat-like."

 

My guess is that Alice had a thing for Ollie for some time but she didn't know how to approach him about it. I also think Ollie viewed Alice as more of a friend than a lover, so Alice's fear of approachment was understandable. If Alice were to approach Ollie about her love for him and Ollie rejected her, it could have put a strain on their friendship and their work relationship.

 

Then the party begins.. Irena enters the picture. Can you imagine how Alice felt when Ollie talked up this hot new girl in his life? Very tough. You snooze, you lose? I suppose so.

 

Where I agree with you about Alice and her cat person ways is when she sees an "in" with Ollie thanks to he and Irena's "problem." Alice was slick enough to play the "lean on my shoulder" woman while also thinking, "now's my chance." Very sneaky. Ollie and her actually belong together, but it comes at the price of another person. Very rotten. Of course, Ollie would have loved Irena until the end of time if she allowed him to...

 

I thought the discussion of Irena as a femme fatale in the film noir forum was an interesting one. Irena qualifies as a femme fatale for me because any man who meets up with her ends up in possible danger. Having said that, I believe Irena was not a femme fatale because she didn't want to hurt men. In fact, she was protecting Ollie by not allowing him to...

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