Cat Ears

I already tweeted about this, but what the hey, slow news day after the fuss and excitement of PUBLISHING A NOVEL. I will be mentioning that fact fairly often but it won’t get in the way too much,

Rewatched CAT PEOPLE and was struck for the first time by the way the chair behind Simon Simon (above) casts the shadow of a cat’s head, particularly MY cat’s head (Momo has funny small ears).

Whenever looking at these things and wondering if they’re deliberate, it’s best to consider that, even if the filmmakers had to shoot quickly, they usually had a bit of time to think about their effects, and there were a number of heads thinking about each department, so most things of this kind probably are intentional. But it doesn’t really matter, we can enjoy them either way.

Now seems an appropriate time to mention all the Val Lewton-themed limericks I’ve been writing at Limerwrecks, like THIS ONE.

8 Responses to “Cat Ears”

  1. David Ehrenstein Says:

    It was deliberate. Lewton and Tourneur were quite meticulous in their work.

    More needs to be written about DeWitt Bodeen who besides his work for Lewton famously scripted George Stevens’ sublime “I Remember Mama”

    I may have mentioned it before but when I was writing my Gay Hollywood book I spent countless hours researching material at the MPAA Library. and frequently saw Bodeen there accompanied by the sort o comely young academic elderly gay screenwriters deserve in their twilight years.

  2. theredshoes1 Says:

    Fiona here – Bodeen was a genius. I have a strange fondness for The Enchanted Cottage.

  3. I think the talking Enchanted Cottage improves on the silent one.

    Bodeen’s sexuality could be said to inform Cat People in much the way John Van Druten’s informs Bell Book and Candle. And the films are geographical neighbours, too. Throw in Bodeen’s The Seventh Victim for another slice of Greenwich Village Gothic.

  4. David Ehrenstein Says:

    “The Seventh Victim” is truly remarkable for the way it evokes a horror fantasy atmosphere without actually being a horror fantasy. It was a direct inspiration for one of my favorite Rivette masterpieces “Duelle” — which is an overt horror fantasy with Bulle Ogier and Juliet Berto cast as dueling goddesses of he Sun and moon searching for mysterious diamond with magical powers in a curiously uninhabited Paris of perpetual twilight

  5. The Seventh Victim is one of those films that seems to benefit from missing footage, like Ulmer’s The Black Cat and Renoir’s La nuit du carrefour, all of which in their different ways seem to be incomplete, but are all the more beautifully mysterious for it.

  6. David Ehrenstein Says:

    I’m not sure what you’re talking abut. Do you mean “missing footage” literally or metaphorically.

  7. All the cases are different: supposedly a reel of the Renoir was lost somehow during production; The Black Cat was censored but we don’t know how much; The Seventh Victim had its budget slashed because Lewton refused to compromise on his choice of director, so they had to lop pages and pages out of the script to make it achievable. So it wasn’t “footage” except in an aspirational/conceptual sense.

  8. David Ehrenstein Says:

    IOW it was the usual crap talented filmmakers have to put up with.
    Some cineastes claim Martine Carol was “foisted” upon Ophuls for “Lola Montes” But I couldn’t disagree more. Carol wasn’t a great actress but she WAS a great star. And the film is about what it means to be a great star.

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