Cat People (1942, horror and drama)
"She was marked with the curse of those who slink and court and kill by night!" proclaimed the poster for Cat People . Meet Irena Dubrovna (Simone Simon), a beautiful and mysterious Serbian-born fashion artist living in New York City . After he gives her a Siamese kitten who hates her, Irena falls in love with and marries an average-Joe American played by Kent Smith (with the interesting character name of Oliver Reed). The conflicted cat-woman is afraid that arousing her marital passions will wake the panther within her, so her husband sends her to a very tasty psychiatrist. (But why should the ability to turn into a cat be considered a curse, rather than a blessing?) This haunting black-and-white film preys purely on the imagination, eschewing lurid transformation scenes. As for real felines, we do see Irena's kitten stuffed into a too-small shoebox, and we see the hypnotic black panther she likes to visit in the Central Park zoo.
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