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


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Laura Vocelle


  1. There’s a 1982 remake that starred Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell. Giorgio Moroder provided the score, and David Bowie sang the theme song.

    I have never heard of Bagheeta and didn’t know the original movie was based on anything other than the screenwriter’s imagination.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: