Cat People Blu Ray

cp2When a young architect falls for a Serbian painter he meets at the zoo, it seems that destiny has brought them together. She is beautiful and strange but charming and clever. He is eager and creative but also rational and clear sighted. When she tells him of the legend of the cat people that comes from her village, he laughs. He does not believe in such a tall and extraordinary tale. When she refuses to kiss her in fear of her being killed, he calls in help. The help is a friend he knows, a psychiatrist and fable crusher. The problem is that he might not be the cure and in truth he might just find out why she cant kiss him.

cp3Much is known and much more is said about the work of Hollywood’s golden producers. In this case the producers name is Val Lewton and the film is from a series of B movies that he made in the horror genre. This is a stand out not only for production purposes but also for the natural skill of a director that used economy in order to install a sense of unease. The use of light and dark, the seen and unseen is often spoken of and rightly so. It is majestic and magnetic but is it the only reason to watch this film and is it the only thing worth focusing on? No because the film is so layered with subtext. Much of which is unsubtle but dynamite never the less.

cp1For me the complexity of the fear of female sexuality is the powerful centre that makes the film work. It builds up and connects to the fear of the exotic to make the film feel unsettled and the audience feel that the beast is within us. Tourneur uses the spaces to compress this, so that we have a swimming pool scene that is a bitch fest with claws. He uses the office space as a pressure cooker of the good woman versus the sexually charged other against the man. Really watch out for this as it makes the film so much more fun to watch and explore as a piece of cinema that is driven by psychology and sociology of an America that was changing and being changed from within.

cpdvdSo to the disc and Criterion deserve applause. Transfer superb 10/10. The 2K gives definition and delights galore. salt dough handprint Commentary is sound but Simon is the great insight for me. The Val Lewton doc is great and worth starting up with. The essay is the other highlight….

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary salt Dough Recipe from 2005 featuring film historian Gregory Mank, with excerpts from an audio interview with actor Simone Simon
  • Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows, a 2008 feature-length documentary that explores the life and career of the legendary Hollywood producer
  • Interview with director Jacques Tourneur from 1979
  • New interview with cinematographer John Bailey about the look of the film
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien

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