Saturday, October 07, 2017

The Leopard Man (1943)

Who's In It: Dennis O'Keefe (the original Brewster's Millions and Raw Deal), Margo (Lost Horizon), and Jean Brooks (The Green Hornet Strikes Again!, The Seventh Victim).

What It's About: After a panther escapes from a nightclub act, multiple women are found horribly mutilated. But is it the work of the animal or a human serial killer?

How It Is: I always love the mood and visual style of  Val Lewton and Jacques Tourneur films. I'm especially a fan of Tourneur with Night of the Demon and Out of the Past being a couple of my all time favorite movies. I'm all over the place on their collaborations though. I love Cat People and like I Walked with a Zombie, but The Leopard Man was very disappointing.

Brooks and O'Keefe play a singer and her manager who are partially responsible for letting the animal escape. They feel some guilt over the situation, so they join the hunt for the animal, but they soon suspect that the escaped beast is just a cover up for a human murderer.

Unfortunately, their investigation is sloppy and once they do discover the actual villain, the motivation for the murderers is barely given any thought. It turns out that the movie is actually more focused on Brooks and O'Keefe and how their experience changes them and shapes their relationship. That's cool, but it's not a replacement for a satisfying mystery, which The Leopard Man doesn't have.

Rating: 2 out of 5 killer cats.


Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

All I remember of this one is the scene at the beginning were the girl runs away from the leopard and we hear the "thud" at the door.

Lewton's movies play on less is more and the "stalking scene" is always the most memorable part of any of them so if you say the rest of the movie is lukewarm, it's easy enough to believe.

I do love the look of this poster though. Those big yellow block letters feel so much like classic comic books!

Michael May said...

That's funny you say that about the stalking scene, because as I could have sworn that I'd never seen Leopard Man before, but that scene really struck a memory for me. So either I'd only seen part of the movie or I only remembered that part of it or there was a really similar scene in another movie.

Whichever it was though, that was super effective. I was pulled into it and really felt the mother's remorse over the situation.


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