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Poster for The Curse of the Cat People
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The Curse of the Cat People

Director: Gunther von Fritsch, Robert Wise Run Time: 70 min. Format: 35mm Release Year: 1944

Starring: Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Ann Carter, Jane Randolph, Elizabeth Russell

Archival print courtesy of the Library of Congress

A loose sequel to the 1942 Cat People, The Curse of the Cat People forgoes any actual feline-human hybrids in favor of portraying a child’s fascination with a woman only she can see. Amy, a young dreamer who would believe birthday invitations can be delivered by magic via a hollow tree, finds she inadvertently causes trouble for her father Oliver. Vowing to please him as a wish on her sixth birthday, she does just the opposite when she starts to see Irena in the yard – Irena being her father’s deceased first wife (and the would-be Cat Person of the original). Captivated by stories of the Headless Horseman (she lives in Tarrytown, of Sleepy Hollow fame), Amy drifts further into her own world.

Lauded producer Val Lewton drew from his own childhood for this film which effectively portrays the unparalleled loneliness one can experience as a child.