What does one tell
a husband? One tells him nothing; says the most arrogant psychiatrist in film history to his bewitched patient.
“I have never been unhappy before”, utters the patient’s husband to his future mistress.
And the patient/future cat woman gently warns her husband:
” We should never quarrel.
Never let me feel jealousy or anger.
Whatever is in me is kept harmless
while I am happy.”
Jacques Tourneur, who turns a woman into a panther just by obliterating the sound of her footsteps on the right moment,
must have enjoyed Cat People. I certainly did, more than ‘Vaudou’ or ‘The Leopard Man’.
By far the most subtle of the three, playing around with the classic eros and thanatos:
the threat of the beast within a woman that will be unleashed when she is approached as a sexual being, while the victims undergo the physical threat as an erotic experience.
Meanwhile the hilarious psychiatrist is blinded by his paternalistic self indulgance, but curiously enough Tourneur links him stylistically with the world he refuses to accept.
Cat People met its public three years before Hitchcock’s Spellbound, the latter being disapproved of by BuÃ±uel,or at least the Dali’s dream sequences in it.
Tourneur, shooting A movies from B ingredients, the French way.