Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Cat People: An Erotic Fantasy About The Animal In Us All.

Paul Schrader's 1982 erotic remake of the Jacques Tourneur classic from 1942, starred Natassia Kinski as Irena a young woman whose sexual awakening causes her to transform into a monstrous black leopard. Along with her brother Paul played by Malcolm McDowall, Irena is descended from a line of 'cat people,' - people who turn into panthers after mating and who must then kill in order to take human form again.

Whilst the subtle menace of the Tourneur original is jettisoned in favour of some pretty gratuitous sex and gory violence, Cat People still entertains in a glossy 1980's kind of way. The movie is helped in no small way by the mesmerising Natassia Kinski who exudes an exotic feline grace throughout the proceedings and scrubs up pretty well too.

Electro-disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder, composed a multi-layered synthesiser based soundtrack for Cat People which works well and has not dated too badly considering its age. Standout tracks include Irena's Theme, The Myth, Leopard Tree Dream, Paul's theme and of course the title track Cat People (Putting out Fire), which features David Bowie's vocal and lyrical talents. Released in an edited form as a single Cat People, made a minor dent in the charts in 1982. Bowie was presumably so enamoured with the track that he re-recorded Cat People in a dramatically re-arranged form for his Let's Dance album and played it live throughout his 1983 Serious Moonlight tour. The original is still the best however and for those that really like the track, the Australian 12 inch mix is an essential listen clocking in at 9.20 even though the label lists it as 6.41!

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