Wednesday, July 31, 2019

THE LEOPARD MAN (1943) Blu-ray Review

The Leopard Man (1943) d. Jacques Tourneur (USA) (66 min)

Produced and directed by the winning team of Val Lewton and Jacques Tourneur, this third effort is as atmospheric as their previous The Cat People and I Walked with a Zombie, yet is ultimately more a straight-ahead whodunnit than supernatural horror yarn. Authorities pursue an escaped panther in New Mexico, with suspicion slowly growing that a series of murders are being committed by a human pretending to be a panther.

The film includes great moments of tension and fear, with each of the murders a classic set piece unto itself, with the scene where an intolerant mother (ignorant of the murderer outside) refuses to let her crying daughter inside the house particularly chilling. Also of interest is the introduction of the modern slasher motif of introducing viewers to a character, following them for a while, then killing them off.

Due to expectations of a more supernatural nature, some may find the ending a disappointment, particularly when the killer’s identity is clear from the halfway point. Also, modern audiences may find the Hispanic characters (played by pale Anglos with nary an accent) distracting if not offensive, where words like “mamacita” sound truly awkward dropping off the tongue.

Though perhaps not rising to the level of other efforts in the Lewton canon, The Leopard Man remains a worthy entry, with solid performances from Dennis O'Keefe (Raw Deal), Margo (Lost Horizon), actor/director Abner Biberman (His Girl Friday), James Bell (The Tin Star), and Jean Brooks (The Seventh Victim).


NEW 4K scan of the original nitrate camera negative

NEW Audio commentary with filmmaker/film historian Constantine Nasr

Audio commentary with filmmaker William Friedkin

Theatrical Trailer

Still Gallery

The Leopard Man is available now on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory and can be ordered HERE:


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