“Cat People is a legendary movie—a sleeper hit of 1942 and an
instant cult item praised on release by James Agee and Manny Farber—that
manages, over multiple viewings, to break free from its own legend.
Fans and commentators have sifted every shot and every situation of this
seventy-three-minute feature, pondering each line of dialogue and
taking note of each editing gimmick and trick of lighting, speculating
on the implications of every archetypal motif and psychosexual frisson.
Yet a fundamental mysteriousness remains, a slippery unwillingness to
submit to final explanation. Cat People’s most famous
gesture—keeping the object of dread concealed in the shadows, and
trusting to the human impulse to people the dark with the most
unspeakable fears—is only the most blatant of the many ways in which the
film leaves spaces deliberately blank. It presents us with a series of
unforgettable moments and obliges us to imagine connections among them.” Geoffrey O’Brien