FRIDAY, October 19, 6:15 pm

Eastern European immigrant Simone Simon believes she bears her village's ancient curse: should she dare fall in love, she'll become a man-eating PANTHER and let me just say this, I've dated worse, personally.

Producer Val Lewton was assigned a B-picture unit at RKO to create cheap horror films to match those Universal was finding so profitable; instead of monsters, he turned out a series of psychological chillers in shades of light and shadow that were major influences on the style that became known as film noir. Cat People was a huge success and even led to a sequel that's not a sequel at all. Funny guy, that Val Lewton. Tom Conway and Kent Smith co-star, and tonight's presentation of the film is new 2K digital restoration presented in high definition courtesy of our friends from Criterion. (73 min. / B&W / 1.37:1)

Also on the Program

In keeping with the Halloween theme of our program this week, there are a couple of creepy ghoulish animated offerings, including Bimbo in Swing, You Sinners (1930) and Flip the Frog in Spooks (1931); plus, another trip to the odd and unusual with Ripley's Believe it or Not.

All that aside, our TravelTalks series returns with a trip to Colorful Colorado; Vitaphone presents Rio Rita and her Orchestra; and we're just as thrilled as can be to present our next exciting chapterplay, Nyoka and the Tigermen (originally released as Perils of Nyoka). Nominally, it's a sequel to Jungle Girl, but with a different actress playing a different Nyoka. It's complicated, but we'll explain it as we go along. Chapter one is called "Desert Intrigue"; the serial, like our feature, was released in 1942.

Coming Distractions

Next time, a young Broadway hopeful is murdered, and her sister tries to solve the case by following her deadly footsteps in the lost noir Stage Struck (1948).

In the weeks to come, look for more noir, thrillers, crime dramas, and movies so special we don't even know what they are yet. Plus Nyoka, the return of Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies, and more, more, more!

Cat People (1942, dir. Jacques Tourneur)