The Curse of the Cat People  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Curse of the Cat People is a 1944 film directed by Gunther von Fritsch and Robert Wise and produced by Cat People producer Val Lewton. The screenplay was written by DeWitt Bodeen. The original music score was composed by Roy Webb. The film was marketed with the tagline "The black menace creeps again!"

This film is the sequel to Cat People (1942) and has many of the same characters; however the movie has a completely different story, and perhaps most importantly, no cat people.

Plot summary

After the death of his wife Irena (Simone Simon), Oliver Reed (Kent Smith) has married former co-worker Alice Moore (Jane Randolph) and they now have a 6-year-old introverted daughter Amy (Ann Carter). Amy has trouble at school because she spends too much time daydreaming, and Oliver tries to encourage her to make friends. After Amy finds a photo of deceased cat-woman Irena, whose name is never mentioned in the house, Irena’s ghost appears to her and the two strike up a friendship. At the same time, Amy befriends Julia Farren, an aging actress who is alienated from her own daughter Barbara (Elizabeth Russell, who also appeared as a sinister cat woman in the previous movie - perhaps the same character).

Reed and his family have left New York City, and now live in Tarrytown, New York. The legend of the Headless Horseman plays into the sense of foreboding in the plot.

Director Robert Wise’s debut (codirected with Gunther von Fritsch) concentrates on childhood fantasy more than suspense and horror as was found in the original.

Main cast


The film was mentioned for comic effect in Neil Simon's The Odd Couple.

  • Oscar Madison: Wait a minute, you're not going anywhere until you take it back!
  • Felix Ungar: Take what back?
  • Oscar Madison: "Let it be on your head." What the hell is that, the Curse of the Cat People?

Irena's lullaby, a motif in the score of both this film and Cat People, is an adaption of the French lullaby Do, do, l'enfant do. The carol Irena sings in counterpart with Shepherds Shake Off Your Drowsy Sleep is the traditional French Christmas carol Il Est Ne, Le Divin Enfant.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Curse of the Cat People" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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