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Cat Girl

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Cat Girl (1957) starring Barbara Shelley, Robert Ayres, John Lee
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Cat Girl (1957) starring Barbara Shelley, Robert Ayres, John Lee

In Cat Girl, a young woman inherits a family curse from her strange uncle. She transforms into a murderous feline when angered.


First, it should be said that Cat Girl is inferior to its’ inspiration, Cat People. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie; it isn’t. It’s moody and atmospheric, with good acting. Although the pace slows down in the middle of the movie.

Her uncle, in addition to leaving his niece money, has left her the family curse. She is now linked to a deadly panther, as was he. He passes on the curse. It’s the only way to be free of it. And, he‘s killed by a mysterious leopard shortly after. Even before the curse being passed on, she’s acting differently. Dislike of light, for one thing. A desire for blood …

“What is this place, a training school for ghouls?”

Cast of characters

  • Barbara Shelley (Quartermass and the Pit, Village of the Damned) as Leonora Johnson. Our unfortunate victim of the curse. Her former boyfriend, Brian, doesn’t believe her. On the one hand, you can’t blame him. On the other, however, he does notice her behaving strangely after her uncle’s death. Among other things, she’s wearing sunglasses, complaining of light sensitivity. Not to mention wanting to kill things and feel blood on her hands …
  • Robert Ayres as Dr. Brian Marlowe. The psychiatrist, newly married, who used to date Leonora. After her uncle’s death, he tries to help her. But he disbelieves her story. And frankly, he destroys some of her inherited books, against her will. Then slaps her when she resists. And he’s the male protagonist.
  • Kay Callard as Dorothy Marlowe. Brian’s wife. A very nice person. Whom Leonora dislikes. Because she married ex-boyfriend Brian.
  • Ernest Milton as Edmund Brandt. Leonora’s uncle, who seems crazy. He’s well-versed on the family curse, and is willing to die to be free of it.
  • Lilly Kann as Anna. The housekeeper. Leonora’s uncle has given her strict instructions to not talk to Leonora. Or to warn her …. She’s known Leonora since childhood.
  • Jack May as Richard Johnson. Leonora’s newlywed husband. He seems to be a bit of a cad. He’s dismissive of Leonora, and cheats on her.
  • Patricia Webster as Cathy. Allen’s wife, who flirts with Richard on the dance floor. And more. She’s afraid of Leonora. But cheats with Leonora’s husband anyway.
  • John Lee as Allan.

Editorial review of Cat Girl courtesy of

A woman returns to her ancestral home and is told she will inherit money but also that there is a family curse: being possessed by the spirit of a leopard …. Turning her into the Cat Girl


  • American International Pictures released this in a double feature with The Amazing Colossal Man (1957).
  • An unofficial remake of Val Lewton’s Cat People (1942).
  • Barbara Shelley starred in another cat-themed horror film, The Shadow of the Cat.

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