The Leopard Man

According to Higham and Greenberg in “Hollywood in the Forties”: “Here Dennis O'Keefe was a reporter engaged to determine the nature of a killer who leaves leopard-like claw marks on his victims in a New Mexico city. Strongly reminiscent of Cat People - with a girl in one scene being followed through deserted nocturnal streets, dustbin lids clattering noisily to the ground - but recalled also the Jack the Ripper theme in that those murdered were usually women of the night.” In comparison to the original Woolrich novel, Tom Milne notes:

“Even Val Lewton's The Leopard Man, superbly directed by Jacques Tourneur, pulls its source novel down to more conventional levels by shying clear of the intense subjectivity of the central episode (the first death, of the young Mexican girl sent out to buy groceries). In the novel, Woolrich's long and exhaustive exploration of the girl's spiralling terrors, a superbly sustained piece of subjective evocation, brilliantly counterpointed in a different key by the complementary account of the second victim's experience, provides a firm basis from which the more mundane, more objective final scenes (the resolution and explanation) can take off without faltering. In the film, with the episodes relatively undifferentiated, the whole latter part is a sad anti-climax.”

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