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Cat People, Directed by Jacques Tourneur

RKO Radio Pictures Inc., December 6, 1942 (US)

Screenplay: DeWitt Bodeen

Starring: Simone Simon, Kent Smith, and Tom Conway

Alice Moore (Jane Randolph)
: Thank you for coming at so late an hour Dr. Judd. I phoned you because I’m troubled. I think you can help me … how much do you believe about the cat people?

Cat people? Sounds pretty ominous, Alice. Maybe even a little crazy? Let me get this straight. You claim that what’s lurking in the shadows, rustling in the bushes, or just out of view in the dense fog is some terrifying new breed of human-turned-animal—people who, if triggered, turn into leopards or cheetahs or some other bloodthirsty felines?

Oh, Alice, really? Have you ever considered that what is actually scarier than this theory about the existence of a new kind of mythological, evil being is that in your world, declarations of undying love between relative strangers seem to be commonplace? Is it love at first bite? Meet a stranger on Sunday, buy a cute little kitty or parakeet or some other two-days-since-we-met anniversary present on Tuesday, and what can possibility remain but a call to the caterer on Wednesday? This even trumps lesbian speed dating! Not that we all haven’t been there at some time or another, and with similar results. But really, it seems pretty likely that if you don’t actually get to know somebody before the wedding certificate inks promises of eternity, then the chances are pretty damn good that more than a few skeletons will crash the party before long.

Irena Dubrovna Reed (Simone Simon): He found dreadful things. People bowed down to Satan and said their masses to him. They become witches and were evil.

Witches or no witches, Irena, things are getting a bit eerie here of late. Today, I’m walking down a cobblestone street after four straight days of hard rain. The muggy temps and saturated soil have given way to a mystical Transylvanian vibe. A foggy mist levitates above the earth. About the only thing missing as I strain to see things coming into view is the pump of a church organ offering its own healthy dose of foreboding.

Sonic foreshadowing or not, conditions remain ripe for something bad to happen. Can’t you feel it?

Irena: I fled from the past from things you could never know or understand. Evil things. Evil. . . .

Fled, Irena? Fled? Sounds like a quick way to travel. Quick as a cat perhaps?

Oliver Reed (Kent Smith): In the name of God, leave us in peace.

As you wish, Oliver. As you wish. Although I should tell you (if you don’t know by now), any promises should be taken with a grain of salt for I feel a change coming. It gets warm at first. There is a distinct hunger. One by one, alternatives disappear.