Sketch artist Irena Dubrovna (Simon) and American architect Oliver Reed (Smith) fall in love and marry after a brief courtship. But Irena believes that she suffers from an ancient curse and won’t consummate the union for fear that she will turn into a panther compelled to kill her lover.I see why this is one of Roger Ebert's Great Movies. We watched it because it was the first hit by famed producer Val Lewton and the movie that saved RKO from financial ruin. This little gem cost about $140,000 but made $4 million in two years. In 1942. Talk about a blockbuster!
The overtones of inevitable inherited evil, the use of light and shadow, the wonderful sets, and the unspoken simmering sexual tension (not even a kiss for her long suffering husband) all add up to much more than 73 minutes of routine old horror film.
We wanted to find a city like the one they lived in, also — with that cozy, overstuffed pet shop and the quirky Sally Lunn restaurant. Where else can you get Chicken Gumbo with a cheese plate to finish?