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.