Cats in Film — Cat People (1942, Simone Simon)

In the 1942 film Cat People, the duality of woman and cat plays a central role. Based on the 1930 short story,  The Bagheeta written by Val Lewton and starring Simone Simon, the film tells the story of Irena, a Serbian, who believes that she is the descendant of a line of people who can turn into cats when emotionally provoked. Because of her jealousy, Irena turns into a black panther in order to kill her husband’s colleague and new love Alice. At the beginning of the film, a statue of King John of Serbia with a cat impaled upon his sword foreshadows the ending of the film; the main character commits suicide at the end of the film by allowing herself to be attacked and killed by a black panther caged at the zoo.  Her demise is brought about when her psychologist tries to molest her, and she turns into a vicious cat and kills him.

 

cat people, cats in film, cats in cinema, women and cats

 


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