Cat People

Synopsis: Cat People is a 1982 American erotic horror film directed by Paul Schrader and starring Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell. Jerry Bruckheimer served as executive producer. Alan Ormsby wrote the screenplay, basing it loosely on the story by DeWitt Bodeen, the screenwriter for the acclaimed original 1942 Cat People. Giorgio Moroder composed the film's score, including the theme song which features lyrics and vocals by David Bowie
Director(s): Paul Schrader
Production: Universal Pictures
  Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 nomination.
 
IMDB:
6.1
Metacritic:
62
Rotten Tomatoes:
64%
R
Year:
1982
118 min
890 Views


The RKO trademark FADES OFF, leaving a black screen, in the

center of which are two slits of pale light. These move

closer until we see that they are a pair of cat's eyes. Over

these mysteriously blinking lights the title is SUPERIMPOSED.

DISSOLVE:

A misty OUT-OF-FOCUS SHOT of a black panther pacing behind

cage bars. Over this come the production credits. A pale

fog rises over the shot of the black panther, and over it

Is SUPERIMPOSED the following quotation:

EVEN AS FOG CONTINUES TO LIE IN THE VALLEYS, SO DOES ANCIENT

SIN CLING TO THE LOW PLACES, THE DEPRESSIONS IN THE WORLD

CONSCIOUSNESS.

SIGMUND FREUD:

EXT. ZOO PROMENADE - PARK - AFTERNOON

As the last word of the quotation FADES from the screen, the

fog clears, the caged leopard comes into full focus, and we

see that it is an actual leopard behind actual bars. Over

the scene is the wheezy music of the Triumphal March from

"Aida," as played on a hand, organ. This is playing in the

distance, and we do not see the organ-grinder until later.

The CAMERA DRAWS BACK to show a young artist sitting before

the cage on a campstool with a drawing portfolio in her hand.

She is presumably sketching the panther, although her drawing

is not shown, and we do not see the features of the girl's

face. The girl picks up the drawing and holds it off,

weighing its values. It evidently does not meet with her

approval, for she wads the drawing Into a ball and turns to

look for a place to throw the waste paper. We see her face.

It is heart-shaped, demure, even a little naive. She is

small, young,and very beautiful. In one hand the wad of

waste paper is poised, ready to throw into a container.

INSERT WASTEPAPER BASKET as Irena sees it.

It is a rather fancy container in the shape of a tree

trunk.

OLIVER:

Yes.

(then continuing in the

same tone)

"Sometimes whoever seeks abroad

may find Thee sitting careless on

a granary floor, Thy hair soft

lifted...

(ponders, as if trying to

remember) Thy hair soft

lifted..."

ALICE:

(snapping her compact

shut)

Reminds me. I have a date with the

hairdresser.

OLIVER:

What a way to spend a Saturday

afternoon!

ALICE:

The business girl's holiday

OLIVER:

You should've minded your mother

and eaten more bread crusts. You'd

have curly hair now.

ALICE:

Thank you for lunch. See you at

the office Monday.

She starts off down the promenade. She walks briskly in one

direction, while Oliver turns the other way, ambling toward

the leopard cage. Along the promenade a file of Saturday

afternoon idlers goes by. Oliver moves up to the cages and

pauses at the guard rail before the leopard cage. Near him

sits Irena, busily sketching. Oliver looks at her, but she

does not look up at him. She gets up and moves a few steps,

her eyes intent on the movements of the panther, which is

walking about In its cage. Oliver politely steps aside so

that she can get a better vantage point. She does not even

notice him. She frowns at her drawing, wads the paper into a

ball, and turns to throw it into the container. Oliver steps

before her, smiling and extending his hand. She looks at him

a moment, then smiles and drops the wad of paper into his

hand.

IRENA:

Thank you.

With an easy aim, Oliver tosses it neatly into the container

and turns to her with a shrug, as if to say how easy it was.

But Irena has picked up another drawing upon which she has

worked and is now studying it. The music of the organ-grinder

grows constantly louder as the scene progresses.

OLIVER:

You won't believe this, and

you've probably heard it a dozen

times before...but I've never

known any artists.

IRENA:

I'm not an artist, really... not a

real artist...just a sketch artist

for fashion drawings.

She has picked up the drawing and is holding it in her hand

with its back toward Oliver, who extends his hand.

OLIVER:

May I see it?

Irena smiles but shakes her head as she tears the drawing

about two-thirds of the way through, dropping it face down

upon the pavement.

IRENA:

Oh, no. It's not good. If I let you

see it, you might not want to know

any artists...ever.

OLIVER (SMILING AT HER)

I'm afraid it would have to be

pretty bad to do that. Besides,

look... (pointing to a drawing she

had dropped, quoting in a mocking

tone)

"Let no one say, and say it to

your shame..."

Irena laughs and starts to pick up the paper, but a gust of

wind blows it down the promenade. She turns to Oliver and

shrugs her shoulders. She starts to fold up her campstool.

Oliver comes forward to offer his assistance. At the same

time the organ-grinder passes between them and the camera,

playing "Aida" on his hand organ. Oliver asks Irena if he may

help her, but the music is so loud she cannot hear him. He

assists Irena in gathering up her things. He takes the

campstool, and Irena carries her artist's portfolio. They

start toward the avenue together.

CLOSE SHOT of the torn drawing as a little wind, carrying

with it some autumn leaves, picks up the paper again and

blows it over and over up the promenade. The torn half of

the drawing falls over into place, so we see what Irena had

been drawing. It is a smart fashion sketch of the type seen

in Vogue or Harper's Bazaar, but the face of the model is the

blunt mask of a black panther, and the hands protruding from

the sleeves are tipped with feline talons. The CAMERA HOLDS

on the drawing.

DISSOLVE OUT:

EXT. STREET - AFTERNOON

TWO SHOT of Irena and Oliver as they walk down a side street.

Irena is looking straight ahead of her, amused. Oliver is

doing his best to get acquainted.

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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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