Cat People (1982 film)

Cat People (1982 film)

name = Cat People

caption = Theatrical release poster
director = Paul Schrader
producer = Jerry Bruckheimer
writer = DeWitt Bodeen
Alan Ormsby
starring = Nastassja Kinski
Malcolm McDowell
John Heard
music = Giorgio Moroder
David Bowie (theme song)
cinematography = John Bailey
editing = Jacqueline Cambas
distributor = Universal Pictures
RKO Pictures
released = April 2, 1982
runtime = 118 min.
country = flagicon|USA
language = English
budget = $18 million
gross = Domestic $7,000,000
Foreign $14,000,000
Worldwide $21,000,000cite web |url = |title = "Cat People" Box Office Data |accessdate = 2008-01-29]
amg_id = 1:8597
imdb_id = 0083722

"Cat People" is a 1982 horror film directed by Paul Schrader and starring Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, and John Heard. The film co-stars Annette O'Toole, Ruby Dee, and features small parts for Ed Begley, Jr. and John Larroquette. Jerry Bruckheimer served as executive producer, Alan Ormsby was the screenwriter, whose script was loosely based on the story by DeWitt Bodeen, the screenwriter for the acclaimed 1942 original.

Giorgio Moroder composed the film's score, including the theme song which features lyrics and vocals by David Bowie.

* "An erotic fantasy about the animal in us all."
* "They are more than lovers... But they're about to become less than human."


Irena Gallier (Natassia Kinski), a waifish young woman, meets her older brother Paul (Malcolm McDowell), a minister, in New Orleans. It is the first time they have met since their animal trainer-parents died, and Irena was sent to a series of foster homes. Paul's Creole housekeeper Female (pronounced "feh-MAH-leh") (Ruby Dee) helps Irena settle into her brother's home, but Paul himself disappears. Cut to a fleabag motel where a blasé prostitute finds an angry black panther instead of a client. After mauling the hooker, the cat is captured by the police... and by a team of zoologists: Oliver Yates (John Heard), Alice Perrin (Annette O'Toole), and Joe Creigh (Ed Begley, Jr.).

The next day Irena finds herself in the zoo where these scientists work. Drawn to the newly-captured panther, she befriends Oliver and takes a job in the gift shop nearby. Shortly afterward, the panther's violence turns deadly and it escapes. Soon, Paul turns up. He tells of his family's werecat heritage. When a werecat has sex with a human, the werecat transforms into a panther, only by killing a human can the werecat regain human form. Only sex with a sibling prevents the transformation. The werecats are ancestrally incestuous. On the run from her dangerous brother, Irena takes refuge in a sexually-frustrated romance with Oliver... afraid of what might happen if she consummates their passion. Her brother is killed whilst in panther form. Irena is trapped. If she takes a human lover, she will have to kill to regain human form. Eventually, Irena makes love with Oliver, she transforms into a panther and flees, sparing Oliver's life. She escapes, but is later trapped on a bridge by police. Shortly after Oliver arrives at the scene, Irena sees him and jumps off the bridge and escapes. Oliver realizes where she is headed and confronts Irena at a secluded lake house, she having regained human form by killing the house's caretaker. Irena tells Oliver she didn't kill him because she loves him. Oliver realizes he can't be without her - he ties Irena's arms and legs to the posts of the bed and proceeds to make love to her, knowing what she will become...

We then see Oliver at the zoo working. He and Alice are romantically involved now. He walks to a cage that contains a black panther. Oliver casually handfeeds the panther and it's obvious the panther is Irena (in the original 1942 film, Irena commits suicide by unlocking the panther cage).


*Natassia Kinski as Irena Gallier
*Malcolm McDowell as Paul Gallier
*John Heard as Oliver Yates
*Annette O'Toole as Alice Perrin
*Ruby Dee as Female
*Ed Begley, Jr. as Joe Creigh
*Scott Paulin as Bill Searle
*Frankie Faison as Det. Brandt
*Lynn Lowry as Ruthie
*John Larroquette as Bronte Judson


*Saturn Awards - Best Actress - Nastassja Kinski
*Golden Globe Awards
**Best Original Motion Picture Score - Giorgio Moroder
**Best Original Motion Picture Song - Giorgio Moroder (music) and David Bowie (lyrics)

Theme song

*The theme song "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" was performed by David Bowie, who wrote the lyrics to music composed by Giorgio Moroder. The song was released as a single in 1982, and in 1983, Bowie included a re-recorded version of the song on his album "Let's Dance". Bowie performed the song live regularly during his 1983 "Serious Moonlight" tour.


External links


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