Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yet another film I encourage you to see that most people don't give a flying fuck about

When children are playing alone on the green,
In comes the playmate that never was seen.
When children are happy and lonely and good,
The Friend of the Children comes out of the wood.

Nobody heard him, and nobody saw,
His is a picture you never could draw,
But he's sure to be present, abroad or at home,
When children are happy and playing alone.

—Robert Louis Stevenson, The Unseen Playmate

In 1944, RKO was determined to release a sequel to the Cat People, Val Lewton's terrifically successful first release as head of that studio's horror unit. Lewton's deal with RKO was that the pictures be made quickly, cheaply, and that the studio supplied the titles before production began. In return, he had creative autonomy, giving him the forum he wanted to create films of superior quality, but the kind of films that really hadn't been made before.

Lewton had no interest in a sequel, but found a way to incorporate the main characters of the first film onto a new one that was a different beast altogether. Curse of the Cat People is one of the most remarkable pictures of the 40's, or of any era, one of the most beautiful and most poetic films about the loneliness of childhood ever made.

This trailer is all I can really find that is embeddable. As you will see, while entertaining, it describes the film RKO desired far more than the film Lewton actually made. The link, from TCM, is to a scene that better reflects that. Have a look, and see this unique and magical film.

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