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Cat People 4K UHD Review

Paul Schrader puts his own stamp on ‘Cat People.’

1982’s ‘Cat People’ is both a remake of the 1942 film and an adaptation of the novel by DeWitt Bodeen. In this Alan Ormsby scripted version, the story revolves around a young woman (Irena) who ventures to New Orleans to meet her brother (Paul). Upon arrival, she becomes fascinated by a black leopard that was captured and placed into a zoo. At the zoo, Irena meets and bonds with the zoo curator Oliver, but her romance becomes complicated to say the least. You see, it turns out the black leopard is Paul and that Irena herself is also a cat person. They come from a long line of cat people (which have their own dark rituals and rules). Will Irena embrace being a cat or would she rather stay a human? All is revealed in the end

Directed by Paul Schrader (who is perhaps best known for writing ‘Taxi Driver’ and directing ‘First Reformed’), ‘Cat People’ is the type of remake that deserves credit for veering off course and telling a different story. This is a decidedly more artsy, violent, weird, and sexual story than its “less is more” predecessor. It’s also a much more visual film thanks to the combined efforts of Schrader, cinematographer John Bailey (who brilliantly captures New Orleans), Albert Whitlock’s practical special effects, and production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti who created some wonderfully detailed sets.

In terms of the story, it certainly feels like a response to ‘An American Werewolf In London’ to be sure, but it has its own identity. It does get a bit goofy in spots and there are some spectacularly weird scenes like the black leopard in a brothel, Isabel staying after hours in a zoo without any one noticing, the autopsy scene and the incestuous cat lineage. One can also argue that the last act drags on for far too long. If you can look past all that though, this is an erotic horror movie that takes risks and explores some curious themes about mythology, sexuality, and animalism. Plus, it has a rocking 80’s synth score by Giorgio Moroder and an unforgettable ‘Theme From Cat People’ by the late legend David Bowie.

Viewers can expect quite the all-star cast here with Natassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard, Annette O’Toole, Ruby Dee, Ed Begley, Jr., and John Larroquette. Kinski is divine and lights up the screen anytime she is on it. Malcolm McDowell has a limited role, but certainly makes an impression in every scene he’s in. Annette O’Toole, John Heard, and Ruby Dee also turn in memorable supporting performances.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 2160p With Dolby Vision HDR. How does it look? This new Scream Factory transfer is a 4K scan from the original camera negative and the results are nothing short of impressive. The colors look so clean that you’d think it was a recent movie at times.

Audio Track: 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How do they sound? Both tracks are satisfactory. The leopard and panther growls are especially effective on the 5.1 track.

Extras (On The Blu-ray aside from the commentary which is on both discs):
* Commentary by director Paul Schrader.
* Blu-ray copy
* Theatrical trailer and TV spot.
* Photo gallery
* 7 separate interviews with Paul Schrader, Natassja Kinski, Annette O’Toole, John Heard, Malcolm McDowell, Lynn Lowry and Giorgio Moroder.
* Director Robert Wise chats about the original ‘Cat People’ producer Val Lewton.
* A montage of unfinished and finished scenes with matte paintings.
* An interview with Special Makeup Effects artist Tom Burman combined with film clips, photos, and artwork.
* ‘An Intimate Portrait By Paul Schrader’- An insightful 25 minute chat with Schrader about the entire production.
* ‘On The Set With Director Paul Schrader’- An on set interview.

August 29, 2022 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , ,

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