Cast & Crew
In England, Leonora Johnson, the sole heir of her demented uncle, Edmund Brandt, is summoned to his home in the countryside. Although told to come alone, Leonora brings her husband Richard and two friends, Allan and Cathy. Unknown to Leonora, Cathy is having an affair with Richard. At a pub near Edmund's house, Leonora meets an American doctor, Brian Marlowe, on whom she had a crush when she lived in the area as a teenager. Brian is now a successful, happily married psychiatrist who maintains a weekend home nearby and invites Leonora to visit after she has seen her uncle. When the group reaches the Brandt house, where Edmund keeps a leopard in captivity, they discover that he is displeased that Leonora has not come alone, but he tells his housekeeper, Anna, to prepare rooms for all of them. During the night, Anna wakens Leonora and takes her to a secret room where Edmund reveals that she, as his heir, will inherit the seven-hundred-year-old curse of the Brandts and must expect to live a life full of horror and anguish. Edmund explains that, at certain times, her soul will enter the leopard's body and indulge in savage, bloody attacks. Edmund also warns her that she must never have children, as they will inherit the curse. Horrified, Leonora flees to the house grounds as Edmund sacrifices himself to an attack by the leopard. After the others find Edmund dead and Leonora unconscious, police officers Cafferty and Roberts, bewildered by the events, ask Brian to examine Leonora, who has recovered consciousness, but is very distraught. Leonora tells Brian that she felt an overwhelming urge to kill something and now realizes that the leopard has become her other self. After Brian has sedated her, Leonora reveals to Brian how much she was in love with him and that she still needs him. She becomes angry, however, when Brian suggests that his wife, Dorothy, visit her. Brian then attempts to convince Leonora that her uncle only imagined that his soul entered the leopard, that she is in a state of traumatic shock and that she should leave the house immediately. Meanwhile the leopard is still loose and later, when Leonora discovers Richard and Cathy lying together in the garden, Richard is suddenly attacked and killed by the animal. Although Leonora confesses to murdering Richard, the police do not believe her, stating that only a wild animal could have inflicted the wounds on Richard's body. Brian decides to move Leonora to a London sanitarium in the belief that a short period of rest will cure her of her obsessions. Once in the sanitarium, however, Leonora experiences brief transformations into the form of the leopard. After Leonora informs Brian that she wants a romantic relationship with him, he attempts to defuse the situation and reacquaint Leonora with reality by arranging for her to go shopping with Dorothy. Although Dorothy dreads the encounter, realizing that Leonora is probably insanely jealous of her, she agrees to help. Later, at Brian's home, Leonora intercepts a telephone call from him in which he says he has been delayed and suggests that they all meet for dinner at a tavern near his hospital. Leonora, however, gives Dorothy an address in a deserted dockland area. Before leaving home, Dorothy leaves a message with Brian's answering service that she will meet him at that address. When Dorothy reaches the area, Leonora and the leopard are already there. While Dorothy waits on a deserted street corner, Brian checks with his answering service, discovers where she is and hurries there by car. Intending to kill Dorothy so that she can be with Brian, Leonora approaches her, but Dorothy runs away and Leonora pursues her. The leopard is about to attack Dorothy when Brian drives his car into it, killing it. Simultaneously, Leonora collapses at the side of the road and dies. Later, when the police suspect that Leonora may have been run over by a car and find a piece of her raincoat on the front of Brian's car, he informs the officers that he cannot begin to explain the circumstances of Leonora's death. The curse of the Brandts, however, has been ended.
Selma Vaz Dias
Paddy A 'hearne
John W. Green
Cat Girl was made at Beaconsfield Studios, England, as a co-production between a British company, Insignia Films, Ltd., and Malibu Productions, a subsidiary of American International Pictures. According to May 1957 Hollywood Reporter news items, the film was made "in cooperation with" the London company Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors. Although the opening credits include a copyright statement, the film was not registered for copyright. Cat Girl marked the first producing credit for writer Lou Rusoff. According to a May 10, 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item, Lyn Tracey was originally cast in a starring role. Some contemporary cast lists omit Edward Harvey, who was not identified in the viewed print.