This film is the original Cat People directed by Jacques Tourneur. The meeting of the Main woman and male lead at the zoo set the scene perfectly because she is sketching the pathner and has a constant need to visit the animal throughout the story as if she was obsessed by it's myth and the tell of the 'cat people'. The classic acting reflects it's period but dated into today's standards. Another period feature was the use of the maid and how black culture ended up in working positions due to the circumstances of this time.
The scenes where you hear footsteps in the street following scene and the cat - like noises in the swimming pool scene are strong because the other female lead becomes paranoid that a creature is after her. We also react as an audience because we try to imagine the power and apperance of the beast at this early stage.
The main theme of the woman transforming into a pathner raises the issue of feminism and the idea of a sexual aroused hunter that has to kill her lover. The idea that she faces this barrier because she is trapped and can not control it indicates a male's sexual fantasy of this time period. I was disappointed with the transformation because you didn't see the process of a hybrid creature emerging, there was only the pathner. I did however like the imagery behind the pathner described as a dark hellish creature, a bad omen meant that people feared it because of it's direct connection to evil.
"On the one hand it shows the dangerous side of female sexuality, on the other it mocks typical American middle class values and, in particular, their preoccupation with convention and normality."
"There’s the celebrated swimming pool scene ... It is not a hugely subtle scene, but it does contribute to the haunted mood of Cat People, an atmosphere that seems to derive in large part from having every set light placed at ankle-height pointing upwards. Director Jacques Tourneur creates such a remarkably haunted mood that even a revolving door left rotating slightly is made to suggest something."
Author of review: Richard Scheib - Moria the science fiction, horror and fantasy film review