Cat People

Synopsis: Serbian national Irena Dubrovna, a fashion sketch artist, has recently arrived in New York for work. The first person who she makes a personal connection with there is marine engineer Oliver Reed. The two fall in love and get married despite Irena's reservations, not about Oliver but about herself. She has always felt different than other people, but has never been sure why. She lives close to the zoo, and unlike many of her neighbors is comforted by the sounds of the big cats emanating from the zoo. And although many see it purely as an old wives' tale, she believes the story from her village of ancient residents being driven into witchcraft and evil doing, those who managed to survive by escaping into the mountains. After seeing her emotional pain, Oliver arranges for her to see a psychiatrist to understand why she believes what she does. In therapy, Dr. Judd, the psychiatrist, learns that she also believes, out of that villagers' tale, that she has descended from this evil - women w
Director(s): Jacques Tourneur
Production: RKO Pictures
  1 win & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
73 min

Thank you.

You won't believe this,

you've probably heard it before...

...but I've never known any artists.

I am not an artist.

- Well, what's all this?

I do sketches for fashion drawings.

May I see it?

- Oh, no, it's not good.

If I let you see it, you might not

want to know any artists, ever.

I'm afraid it would have to be pretty bad

to do that. Besides, look:

'Let no one say,

and say it to your shame...'

Irena Dubrovna, is that a Russian name?

No, I'm from Serbia.

- Oh, I see.

Would you mind spelling it?

Want to know how to spell my name?

Are you going to write me a letter?

- I'd like to write you a letter.

What about?

- I would say in this letter:

'Dear Miss Dubrovna...'

I would say, 'Will you have tea with me?'

In that case, I'd just have

to write you another one. I'd say...

Here's my house.

Perhaps, Mr. Reed, you would like

to have tea in my apartment?

Oh, Miss Dubrovna... make life so simple.

You know...

...I never cease to marvel at what lies

behind a brownstone front.

Well, what's the matter?

- Nothing.

But you...

You looked at me in such a funny way.

- I've never had anyone here.

You're the first friend I met in America.

Oh, I know lots of people in business.

Editors, secretaries,

other sketch artists, you know.

But you might be my first real friend.

- Thank you.


- That's Lalage.


- The perfume I use. I like it.

Perhaps too well. Maybe I use

too much of it, living alone like this.

It's hard to describe.

Not like flowers, exactly. It's...

It's like something warm and living.

What's that?

It's the lions in the zoo.

One can hear them here often.

Many people in this building complain.

The roaring keeps them awake.

And you don't mind it?

- No.

To me, it's the way the sound

of the sea is to others:

Natural and soothing. I like it.

Some nights there is another sound,

the panther.

It screams like a woman.

I don't like that.

Oh, I hadn't realized how dark

it was getting.

I like the dark. It's friendly.

No, no, keep still, please.

Are you admiring my statue?

- Not exactly.

Who's it supposed to be?

- King John.

Oh, King John, the Magna Carta

and all that stuff?

No. King John of Serbia.

He was a fine king.

He drove the Mamluks out of Serbia

and freed the people.

Well, why have this around?

- Well, perhaps you have in your room...

...a picture of George Washington

or Abraham Lincoln.

Well, what does it mean?

Why is he...? Why is he spearing that cat?

- Oh, it's not really a cat.

It's meant to represent the evil ways

into which my village had once fallen.

You see, the Mamluks

came to Serbia long ago...

...and they made the people slaves.

Well, at first, the people were good...

...and worshipped God

in a true Christian way.

But little by little, the people changed.

When King John drove out the Mamluks...

...and came to our village...

...he found dreadful things.

People bowed down to Satan...

...and said their Masses to him.

They had become witches...

...and were evil.

Well, King John put some of them

to the sword...

...but some...

...the wisest and the most wicked...

...escaped into the mountains.

Now do you understand?

Well, I still don't see

what it has to do with you.

Those who escaped,

the wicked ones...

...their legend haunts the village

where I was born.

Boys who come to tea

can't expect to stay to dinner.

Some other time perhaps.


Well, what time tomorrow?


A little more to the left, Harry.

Easy. Just a hair.

I'm afraid she's gonna be all right, Alice.

- She's got what it takes, commodore.

Rate this script:4.0 / 1 vote

DeWitt Bodeen

DeWitt Bodeen (July 25, 1908, Fresno, California — March 12, 1988, Los Angeles, California) was a film screenwriter and television writer best known for writing Cat People (1942). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Cat People" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 10 Dec. 2023. <>.

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