January 30, 2013

The Leopard Man (1943)

When Jerry Manning (Dennis O'Keefe) encourages nervous Kiki (Jean Brooks) to take a leashed leopard into a New Mexico nightclub as a publicity gimmick, you just know things are going to end badly.

Kiki's jealous rival, Clo-Clo (Margo), scares the big cat with her castanets. Snarling with fear and rage, the cat pulls the leash from Kiki's hand then bolts.

In a tense scene, the ill-fated Teresa (Margaret Landry) is the first to encounter the escaped leopard in a tunnel. It's not long before the terrified animal kills, but does it then run into the countryside or kill again? You'll just have to watch this Jacques Tourneur and Val Lewton collaboration to find out.

In case you were wondering, the black leopard named "Dynamite" also appeared in Val Lewton's "Cat People" (1942).

As a bonus, there's even a normal domestic cat in this movie who belongs to Maria (Isabel Jewell) the fortune teller. He doesn't get much time on screen, but sadly, neither does the leopard.

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