The Curse of the Cat People 1944

The young, friendless daughter of Oliver and Alice Reed befriends her father's dead first wife and an aging, reclusive actress.

The Cast

Simone Simon-Ghost of Irena
Kent Smith-Oliver 'Ollie' Reed
Jane Randolph-Alice Reed
Ann Carter-Amy Reed
Eve March-Miss Callahan
Julia Dean-Mrs. Julia Farren
Elizabeth Russell-Barbara Farren
Erford Gage-Police Captain

The Director: Gunther von Fritsch
The Writers: DeWitt Bodeen
Music by: Roy Webb
Certificate : A

Film Trivia

The theme within the film, a child believed to be on the verge of insanity because she lives in a fantasy world, was personal to producer Val Lewton who behaved in a similar way as a child. His wife has said that she felt he never truly came back to the real world as an adult
The mummers' plays referred to by Alice and Miss Callahan are old folk plays performed by travelling groups of players called mummers or guisers. They were often performed in the street or in taverns/ public houses.
Robert Wise's first directorial screen credit, after he was called in to finish what was going to be short subject director Gunther von Fritsch's first feature film debut. Fritsch had fallen behind schedule and was replaced by Wise and the film was completed nine days behind schedule and over budget.
According to the screenwriter DeWitt Bodeen, Val Lewton wanted to call this film "Amy and Her Friend". However, RKO executives insisted on using the "Cat People" name to attract fans of Cat People (1942), which had been an enormous box office success made with a very low budget.
The "magic mailbox tree" fantasy/lie told to Amy by her dad mirrors a story Val Lewtons dad told him when he was a kid, only Lewton had put his sister's birthday party invites in the tree not his own as Amy does in the film
The tension between Amy and her father Oliver in the film, according to commentary by Gregory Mank, mirrors the real love/hate relationship shared by Val Lewton and his daughter Nina
Irena is Serbian in origin (as shown on the precursor 'Cat People') yet sings a traditional French Christmas carol 'Il Est Ne, Le Divin Enfant' to Amy.
The poem quoted by the Miss Callahan is The Unseen Playmate by Robert Louis Stevenson from 'A Child's Garden of Verses' (1913).
Although this sequel to Cat People (1942) is said to have nothing to do with the original film, in reality it is a continuation in the sense that the same actors (Kent Smith & Jane Randolph) play the same characters (Oliver Reed & Alice Moore) who fell in love at the end of the previous film. They are here married and have a daughter. Also, Irina (Simone Simon), who was the first Mrs. Reed, plays a prominent part in this story. However, this film has nothing whatsoever to do with the "cat people" of the original movie, nor with any curse.
Because of the incredibly tight budget, sets from Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) were re-used.
The painting described as Irena's favorite piece of art is a print of 'Don Manuel Osorio' by Goya.
The story that Julia Farren performs for Amy is Washington Irving's 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'. Sleepy Hollow is north of Tarry Town where the Reed family lives.
Two people in the neighborhood are referred to by the names Robert and Louis, which is most likely a homage to Robert Louis Stevenson, who contributed a poem for the film.
The book titled "The Inner World of Childhood" mentioned by Miss Callahan, Amy's teacher, is a real work written by American psychologist Frances Wickes around 1930. It was admired greatly by Carl Jung, who wrote an introduction for it in 1931.
The painting, featuring cats and a child, shown in the Reed's home and described as Irena's favorite piece of art, is the Goya work, "Don Manuel Osorio".
Although Val Lewton was known for his thrift as a movie producer, Curse of the Cat People ran 40% over budget in the end.
Miss Callahan, Amy's teacher, refers to a book, The Inner World of Childhood, written by American psychologist Frances Wickes and published in 1927.