Officially a sequel to Val Lewton's psychological-horror classic Cat People (1942), Curse of the Cat People is in fact an engrossing and oftimes charming fantasy, told from a child's point of view. Six-year-old Ann Carter plays Amy Reed, the lonely daughter of eternally preoccupied Oliver Reed (Kent Smith). Amy's vivid imagination and inability to get along with her schoolmates leads Oliver to worry that the girl will start exhibiting the psychopathic tendencies of his long-deceased first wife Irena (Simone Simon), the obsessive "Cat Woman" in the earlier film. Oliver's second wife Alice (Jane Randolph) and Amy's sympathetic schoolteacher (Eve March) try to help, but Amy prefers the company of elderly Julia Farren (Julia Dean), a harmlessly crazy ex-actress who lives in a forbidding mansion with her neurotic daughter Barbara (Elizabeth Russell). Insanely jealous of Amy, Barbara ultimately tries to do the girl harm, but she is thwarted in this effort by the ghost of Irena, Amy's self-appointed guardian angel. Advertised as a horror picture, Curse of the Cat People has only one genuine "shock" scene; otherwise, the most frightening moment in the film is Julia Farren's spirited rendition of "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere." Saddled with a lurid title, producer Lewton and screenwriter DeWitt Bodeen chose to offer a fascinating glimpse into the wonderfully boundless realm of a child's imagination, and in this respect the film is an unqualified success.
by Hal Erickson synopsis