Leopard Man [DVD] 
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From the creative team behind horror classics The Cat People and I Walked With A Zombie comes this 1943 RKO masterpiece of terror. When a supposedly tame black leopard escapes from a New Mexico nightclub, young girls start to die horribly. While the police desperately search for the beast, nightclub singer Kiki Walker (Jean Brooks) and her manager Jerry Manning (Dennis O Keefe) start to suspect that someone or something far worse is responsible for the killings. Something is stalking the small town, something with an overwhelming compulsion to kill and kill again...Directed by Jacques Tourneur (Night Of The Demon), produced by the legendary Val Lewton and scripted by Ardel Wray (I Walked With A Zombie, Isle Of The Dead), The Leopard Man is a true horror classic. Now digitally restored and remastered, it is finally available to own on UK DVD for the very first time
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Top Customer Reviews
Not quite up to the standard of Val Lewton's Cat people but an enjoyable outing for a little seen horror film where directors knew how to convey mood in a more subtle and unobtrusive way.
* A good storyline involving an escaped black leopard who is suspected of killing young girls in the most horrible fashion (nothing gory is shown, just the frightening lead-ups to the deed, screams and shadows)
* Moody sets, particularly the night-time street scenes, with everyone looking over their shoulders. RKO were a low budget studio, so Tourneur had to be very inventive in creating atmosphere, making good use of light and shade and unexpected jolts. In this one we also get the unnerving clicking of castanets and a procession of town's folk wearing hoods
* Dennis O'Keefe, a handsome and sturdy leading man, with a reassuring air about him and a good sense of humour
* Jean Brooks, who memorably played Kim Hunter's haunted sister in another atmospheric RKO horror, The Seventh Victim
* Margo, an engaging and smouldering Mexican actress who plays a nightclub dancer
* James Bell who plays the town's museum curator. He was an excellent but underrated actor who reminds me of Dean Jagger
The film is black and white and just 65 minutes long (the perfect length for this sort of thing). It's a pretty good print and the sound quality is fine, although there are no subtitles. I'm no expert on 'aspect' and although it was no problem for me, the picture may have been stretched to fill a wide screen - If that's the case it's easily remedied on most TVs.
The reality is that The Leopard Man has so much more going for it and for me, it is a masterpiece of the macarbe.
There are so many bold scenes here- the death of a young girl, which you don't see coming or at least do not expect it will happen. The direction from Jacques Tourneur is simply superb, his usage of light and simplicity was ahead of the game. Of course as known fact Lewton himself was involved in everything, from set up, to script to make his films as perfect as they could be and on budget.
Watch out for one scene where a main character is being 'followed', this is apparently the very first time this type of scene was executed on film and it comes with a bonus genuine jump scene.
My only slight disappointment was from Dennis O'Keefe- a gifted actor but possibly miss cast here? The actress known as Margo steals the show- all in one she is a hopeless romantic, a money thinking woman, empowering and a cow. A magnificent performance.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Publicist Dennis O’Keefe (Jerry) turns up with a leopard for his girlfriend Jean Brooks (Kiki) to use in her act and to draw attention away from her rival act Margo (Clo Clo) the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Alex da Silva
The Leopard Man has long had a reputation as one of the most disappointing and problematic of the Val Lewton RKO films, possibly because of it's impressive lineage - based on a... Read morePublished on 24 April 2012 by Trevor Willsmer