Blu-ray Review: THE LEOPARD MAN

THE LEOPARD MAN is based on the book “Black Alibi” by Cornell Woolrich. The film stars Dennis O’Keefe, Margo, Jean Brooks and Abner Biberman. From legendary horror film producer Val Lewton (The Body Snatcher, Bedlam, The Ghost Ship) and from Jacques Tourneur, the director of the original Cat People, The Leopard Man is one of the first American films to attempt a remotely realistic portrayal of a serial killer. 

When Latin dancer Clo-Clo (Margo) begins to overshadow nightclub singer Kiki Walker (Jean Brooks), Kiki’s agent, Jerry Manning (Dennis O’Keefe), decides to spice up his client’s act with an enormous black leopard on a leash. But the big cat escapes from the club — and soon after, a young girl (Margaret Landry) and others are found dead around their small town. When evidence suggests that the killer may be human, suspicion falls on the leopard’s Native American owner (Abner Biberman).

A leopard escapes from a fancy nightclub and ends up getting all the blame for a series of murders in this 1943 suspense-filled thriller. The thing is, there’s actually a mysterious figure who’s behind each and every one of these murders as he picks out his female prey one by one and leaves their dead bodies behind for others to find.

The thing is, there’s a few clues as to why it can’t be the big cat because the victims’ bodies are all still in tack and haven’t been eaten or devoured. This is where the murderer gets messy because certain people catch onto this and eventually set the killer up where he gets caught in the middle of the act while he’s attempting to kill his next innocent victim. In the end the killer’s identity is revealed and he ultimately gets what he deserves.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some classic promo art. The Blu-ray disc features its own individual artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The Leopard Man has been given a new 4K scan of the original nitrate camera negative. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio. Another solid upgrade by Scream Factory!

Bottom line is, The Leopard Man ended up being a well-executed feature that was actually the first of its kind. This movie is about a serial killer and back in the day movies like this would’ve been labeled as controversial, offensive or shocking as I’m sure this one was. The story for The Leopard Man was interesting and so were the characters – especially the main players. The villain here is an interesting one because he’s smart and elusive as he picks out his prey at night while the poor cat gets all the blame. So how does he get caught? Like all criminals, he gets messy. This classic RKO Pictures release doesn’t show off blood or gore to scare the audience but instead uses suspense and mystery until all is revealed in the final moments of the movie. Jacques Tourneur did a really good job directing this old school psycho-thriller that also ended up being yet another first time watch for more and I really enjoyed it. It’s also beautifully shot.The Leopard Man will make its Blu-ray debut on July 30th.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 66 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Fullframe (1.37:1) B&W

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include two audio commentary tracks, a theatrical trailer and still gallery. The fact that the lgendary William Friedkin did some audio commentary for this movie is impressive.

  • NEW Audio Commentary with filmmaker/film historian Constantine Nasr
  • Audio Commentary with filmmaker William Friedkin
  • Theatrical Trailer (01:05)
  • Still Gallery (08:36)
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