The Leopard Man

1943, Movie, NR, 63 mins


Another superbly atmospheric thriller from producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur (CAT PEOPLE, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE). Jerry Manning (O'Keefe), a public relations man from a New Mexico nightclub, rents a leopard as a publicity stunt. The animal escapes and kills a teenage girl whose mother had locked her out of the house as punishment for returning late from an errand. The scene, shot from the inside of the house, is terrifying for when the leopard strikes, all the viewer sees is blood coming from under the door. Two subsequent murders are blamed on the leopard, but Jerry investigates and unmasks the real--and very human--killer. Based on Black Alibi, the third mystery novel written by the incomparable Cornell Woolrich, this film, along with Lewton and Tourneur's other collaborations, proves once again that money is not the most essential element in good filmmaking. Robert de Grasse's gorgeously fluid camerawork creates the absolutely chilling mood of this film. While not as challenging or thematically dense as the other Lewton/Tourneur masterworks, there are individual sequences in THE LEOPARD MAN that refuse to fade from memory. leave a comment

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