The Leopard Man - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Leopard Man Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2010
The movie starts out good, but it disappoints in the end.
Super Reviewer
½ November 15, 2006
I thought The Leopard Man was going to be a rehash of Cat People was I was pleasantly disappointed. It's another thriller out of the Val Lewton stable about a killer escaped panther, but as time goes on turns out to be something completely different. The twist at the end isn't very difficult to figure out, but The Leopard Man isn't about a clever script or so-so acting. It's about fantastic and shadowy photography and astonishing direction. Essentially any scene in this movie where someone gets murdered is a suspenseful work of art able to make even the most jaded of horror fans jump out of their seats. Even if its just a little bit.
Super Reviewer
December 18, 2009
Not quite as good as Cat People. Interesting, but boring for the most part, I felt.
Super Reviewer
January 20, 2008
A lesser known, but still pretty good, film from the Val Lewton crew. A leopard escapes in a small town and people start dying, but is the leopard the killer or is the truth more sinister? Some nice eerie effects, like all of Lewton's films, implied rather than shown. But the climax was a bit of a let-down for me. Luckily it's just a little more than a hour long, so I don't feel like I wasted too much time.
Super Reviewer
½ May 5, 2007
Sweet little suspense film about a killer panther...or a man who kills like a panther...or is a panther...they never really say
½ December 28, 2010
Enjoyable little thriller out of the Val Lewton set, though I wasn't as impressed with this one as I have been with other releases in the set.

Well worth a look for the historical significance, building tensions with unseen threats and that sort of thing, but it may not be very engaging for a modern audience.

I'd suggest knowing what you're getting into with this one, but I did bump it a half point with a subsequent viewing, so maybe it'll edge its way into my heart eventually.
½ March 7, 2009
Some great momements of suspense make up for the unusually weak characters and story for a Val Lewton production
½ July 18, 2008
Definitely one of the more entertaining Val Lewton horror movies, and one of my favorites. The story is simple: a leopard gets loose and murders are committed, but nobody knows if the leopard is doing it or if a human is. Everything is great up until the last 15 minutes where not everything is tied up.
March 7, 2008
Once again I'm going about introducing myself to someone all wrong. I often start from seemingly random movies, and often just have things backwards, but knowingly. One would expect that on purchasing a Val Lewton horror boxset, my first film would be The Cat People. One would also think I would view it before the 1982 Paul Schrader remake. Unfortunately, no. Instead I begin here, mostly because I decided to try and find something I could finish before midnight tonight, and this is one of the shorter films I own.

Jerry Manning (Dennis O'Keefe) is boyfriend to performer Kiki Walker (Jean Brooks), and to try and give her some visibility over local star Clo-Clo (Margo--no really, just Margo), he rents a black leopard (Dynamite--previously used in, well The Cat People) from Charlie (Abner Biberman) so that Kiki's act can possibly overshadow Clo-Clo's locally popular act--which involves castanets and playing to type as a "Mexican girl" to the United States tourists wandering into New Mexico. Clo-Clo catches onto their ploy, though, and scares off the poor beast, leaving it to rip its leash from Kiki's hand. Soon, mauled bodies begin to turn up, but Jerry and his friend Dr. Galbraith (James Bell) have some skepticism when it comes to the leopard being the culprit, even as Jerry and Kiki both feel thoroughly guilty about their possible responsibility for the deaths.

I honestly have no idea what it is that Val Lewton is known for, whether it is what he was able to crank out under his studio-imposed limitations (under 75 minutes, under $150,000, from titles the studio gave him) or some particularly horrific elements in his work--I've never really understood what credits are/should be given to a producer in the first place, and this didn't help an awful lot. The things that I saw that impressed me spoke more to director Jacques Tourneur, who worked with Lewton on The Cat People as well (gee, noticing a pattern here?). The sound design and use were the most impressive by far, the suspenseful scene of young girl Teresa Delgado attempting to return home after being sent out for cornmeal managing to make me jump for the first time in years, not with an easy shock, not with a sudden chord of music or any other cheat, but with a legitimate sound relevant to the scene and just as shocking to the audience as it was to Teresa, yet completely natural as soon as one thinks about the source after the initial shock. The cinematography is reminiscent of film noir, heavy on shadows and criss-crossing window-made lines of darkness, used to great effect and able to properly bring us the atmosphere necessary to keep a film with a budget this low suspenseful and possibly even scary (I can't say it reached that point for me, but few things have for a long, long time). The performances by O'Keefe and Brooks as two lovers intent on their appearance and trying to appear as tough as their backgrounds required them to be in the past are quite good, as are those by most of the rest of the cast, which is relatively impressive in light of the obvious budgetary limitations.

If nothing else, certainly Lewton's hand in putting the right people in the right places, or getting the right people to put the right people there, show and show well. At first the film seemed a bit clumsy as they used to be when approaching horror material, but gradually solidified itself into a respectable and eventually engaging and enthralling little movie with an interesting plot (if not an overly complex one) and a solid mystery to it (OK, I figured it out relatively early, but still, I wanted to see how it was put together). I will say that, yes, I am indeed impressed so far. I'm just not sure if that credit goes to Lewton or Tourneur yet. Either way, I don't see anything that suggests I should be disappointed with either of them, which is good enough for me.
June 13, 2007
A beautiful Gothic atmosphere and effective suspense sequence highlight this chiller from Jacques Tourneur... A word of warning - the film concentrates more on mood and moments of dread rather than trying to tell a story, so expect a visceral experience rather than a cognitive one.
June 19, 2007
these val lewton movies ahve all gone down as major classics. today, some of them are really corny, this is definitely one of the better ones. regardless, i can see why they are considered so special for their time.
February 26, 2014
jacques tourneur and his passion for felines. first came "cat people" then we had "the leopard man", all constantly killing without mercy.
November 8, 2013
What could happen to me?

A leopard escapes a local circus and is lost in the neighborhood. Shortly thereafter, numerous murders start occurring all over the city. Initially, everyone blames the leopard; however, as investigators look more into the crimes, it doesn't make sense that a leopard would kill so many people. Who could be behind the serial killings?

"Did you ever run into one of those when you went to the store for me? Then you won't now."

Jacques Tourneur, director of Cat People, Curse of the Demon, I Walked with a Zombie, Out of the Past, City in the Sea, and They All Come Out, delivers Leopard Man. The storyline for this picture was better than I anticipated. The dramatic and kill scenes were fairly intense and I loved the characters. The acting was excellent and the case includes Dennis O'Keefe, Margo, Jean Brooks, and Isabel Jewell.

"When you marry Champaign, you cannot trade it in for beer."

I DVR'd this picture off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) this holiday season because the plot sounded wonderful. I can tell you this was one of the better horror pictures I saw this holiday season. They do a good job of building up the victims so you feel vested in them before the murderer attacked. I felt that was very clever and smart way to draw the audience in. I do recommend seeing this underrated gem.

"I'm sick. Claw women, hurt little girls..."

Grade: B
October 6, 2013
A great little gem from Val Lewton.
February 9, 2012
Probably my favorite Val Lewton horror film besides 'Cat People'...
½ March 30, 2006
[b][color=white]Leopard Man[/color] [/b](1943, Tourneur):

This Val Lewton psychological-horror production starts off brilliantly, yet closes in a disappointingly anti-climatic fashion. Nevetheless, the moody atmosphere Tourneur arranges from the opening shots still remains. There are some brilliant sequences here, which Tourneur dresses up in gothic shadows and a psychological eerieness such as the death of Teresa Delgado, the annual "Dance of the Dead" festivities and Consuelo's ordeal trapped in the local cemetery. The result is a stylish film documenting the conflicts between science and superstition in rural New Mexico, which despite its mundane finale is still one of the classics of the genre.

A- (9/10)

[more to be added later]
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