Leopard Man, The (1943)

The Leopard Man (1943), produced by Val Lewton, directed by Jacques Tourneur.

If you were in a New Mexico resort town where a black panther was prowling and leaving mangled corpses from time to time, would you go walking around at night? And might it be possible for a murderer to use the cat as cover for his own opportunistic mayhem?

A small film only 66 minutes long, but with plenty of scare moments. It sometimes diverts into little human interest sidelines. From a story by Cornell Woolrich.

Most critics view this as one of the slightest films in the series, but this essayist gets quite a lot of good out of it: The Strange Pleasure of the Leopard Man (pdf).

Rambling but heartfelt commentary track by William Freidkin. He tends to summarize what we are already seeing.