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The Curse Of The Cat People (1944)

Theatrical Poster #1
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5.0
 / 10
1 vote
Movie Connections:
Cat People
> Cat People (1942)
> The Curse Of The Cat People (1944)
> Cat People (1982)
Genres:
Childhood Drama, Children's / Family, Children's Fantasy
Directors:
Gunther von Fritsch Gunther von Fritsch
Robert Wise Robert Wise
Starring:
Simone Simon Simone Simon
Kent Smith Kent Smith
Jane Randolph Jane Randolph
Ann Carter Ann Carter
Eve March Eve March
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Review by 385
Added: February 21, 2012
I'm sure any film maker in the business can tell you that nothing stands in the way of making a movie quite like pressure from the studios. Val Lewton found this out firsthand when he found RKO forcing his latest movie into a sequel to Cat People.

It's been years since Irena has died, and predictably Oliver and Alice have married and started a family, but unfortunately, their six-year-old daughter has been having a lot of problems with her friends at school. Or rather, the lack thereof. You see, Amy is a bit of a daydreamer, much more content to wander around by herself, lost in a fantasy world than hang out with the other children. This drives Oliver completely up the wall, as he absolutely refuses to have his daughter be "the weird kid". Needless to say, he's especially not pleased when Amy reveals that she has a brand new imaginary friend: his long dead ex-wife.

Perhaps you can tell that while, sure, it's the next chapter in the life of those same characters, it's not a true sequel to the cat people saga. In truth, I don't think the word "cat person" is so much as mentioned once throughout the entire movie. Again, this was never supposed to be the second Cat People movie; it was supposed to be called Amy and her Friend, and the way it's played out, this may or may not have any horror elements at all. While the common conception is that Amy is talking to Irena's ghost, there's just as much plausibility that Amy just thought her picture was pretty and used her as an avatar for the person she invented. From this angle, it's a straight-forward drama, and the true conflict of the film is between Amy and her father's anger towards her imaginative ways. While nothing amazing, it was a fairly entertaining ninety minutes, but combine this approach with RKO's insistence on marketing the movie as a horror movie and it's easy to see why it didn't receive the greatest reception on release.

For this "sequel", Simone Simon, Kent Smith, and Jane Randolph all make not so triumphant returns. However, I'm pretty sure the real culprit is the script instead of the actors themselves. Simon seems almost confused as Amy's friend, and Smith and Randolph are reduced to different parental archetypes: Randolph as the caring mother and Smith as a dick father. None of them are allowed to show the depth they proved themselves capable of two years prior. The only newcomer is young Ann Carter as Amy Reed, who was fine by childhood standards.

Personally, this one didn't quite jive with me either, but that's more of a personal preference than anything the movie did wrong. A true proof of its mettle, the film has been shown numerous times in child psychology courses. I guess it did something right. 6/10.
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