Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Barbara Shelley
THE CAT GIRL (aka Cat Girl/1957). Director: Alfred Shaughnessy.

Leonora Johnson (Barbara Shelley) is married to the unfaithful Richard (Jack May), but is secretly in love with former paramour, Dr. Brian Marlow (Robert Ayres of Battle Beneath the Earth), who is now married to Dorothy (Kay Callard of The Flying Scot). If that weren't enough of a mess, Leonora's crazy uncle (Ernest Milton), who keeps a leopard in the house, has convinced his niece that she is under a family curse and can turn into a leopard, or that she has a bond with it that can cause it -- or her -- to kill. Who the hell knows? In any case, when Brian tries to convince Leonora that she isn't really crazy and isn't growing claws, she decides it would be best to rid the world of her rival, Dorothy. This confusing mish mosh is a blatant rip off of Cat People, and while it's all overwrought and entertaining in a modest fashion, its chief strength is an excellent, intense performance by Barbara Shelley [The Gorgon] as the highly unlikable Leonora. Lily Kann is also effective as the uncle's housekeeper, Anna, and the various supporting performances are adept. But the movie is not really worth much in the long run.

Verdict: A monster movie with a most disappointing "monster." **.


angelman66 said...

I just watched Cat People the other night; what a wonderful film. You're right, this one seems like an artless ripoff. Though the saving grace might be Shelley's performance, so maybe it's worth a viewing if I run across it?

William said...

There's an odd print of it on youtube, speeded up a bit and cropped, but you'll get the general jist of it.