Newest Reviews
Frozen II
White Sheik, The
Whalebone Box, The
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Battling Butler
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
Treasure at the Mill
Crime Wave
Terminator: Dark Fate
Antonio Gaudi
Oscar, The
Color Out of Space
Newest Articles
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
  Leopard Man, The The Fear Of The Cat
Year: 1943
Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Margo, Jean Brooks, Isabell Jewell, James Bell, Ben Bard, Abner Biberman, Margaret Landry
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 3 votes)
Review: Showbiz promoter Jerry (Dennis O'Keefe) thinks up a great gimmick for his new singing act (Jean Brooks) - he has her make her entrance holding a black leopard on a leash. But the animal gets frightened, breaks free, and escapes into the New Mexico town. When girls are murdered, the leopard gets the blame, but Jerry has other ideas... what if the leopard is not responsible at all?

This gloomy horror was written by Ardel Wray and Edward Dein, an adaptation of a Cornell Woolrich novel, Black Alibi. It marked another big cat based film for Jacques Tourneur and producer Val Lewton, after the previous year's Cat People, and like most of the Lewton cult chillers, contains textbook examples of spooky suspense scenes to freeze the blood in your veins.

The characters make philosophical musings on the way fate controls their lives, but it's really the spectre of death that hangs over them. The murder sequences are superbly handled, especially the first where a teenage girl making her way home at night (bad idea) is apparently chased by the leopard. She manages to reach her house, but her sceptical mother doesn't open the lock in time, despite the girl's screams of "If you love me, let me in!" When her blood seeps under the front door, we know it's too late for her.

Frivolity and innocence count for little in the face of ever-present death. The young girl who goes to a cemetery to meet her boyfriend ends up getting locked in, and we know where this will lead her. The night's impenetrable shadows, howling wind and unwelcoming loneliness add up to a formidable atmosphere that Tourneur easily exploits. It's one of those films where, if a chain-smoking gypsy asks you to pick a card, it'll be the Ace of Spades.

It's not perfect: the brash hero has a cowardly, selfish streak to overcome (so it's none too convincing that he should solve the mystery), and new characters seem to be introduced every ten minutes, but this remains one of Lewton's strongest productions due to its tension and overwhelmingly melancholy air. Listen for the way they avoid singing "Happy Birthday to You". Music by Roy Webb, which is heavy on the castanets.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 5825 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (1)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton


Last Updated: