It's almost Halloween, and here at Cinematical Headquarters, we thought we'd take a break from working on our devilish plan to pass out Situationist propaganda to pre-adolescent trick-or-treaters (j/k - there are no children in Williamsburg, silly!) to dig up some horror-themed Vintage Images of the Day. Check back all this week for a new one each day.
Our first devilish glamourpuss is Simone Simon, star of Cat People, and The Curse of the Cat People (neither of which should be confused with Paul Schrader's Cat People, which, beyond a naked Nastassja Kinski has little to recommend it). Cat People was directed by Jacques Tourneur, who seems about due for a major reconsideration; his filmography also includes Nightfall, I Walked with a Zombie and Out of the Past. In it, Simon plays the mysterious artist wife of a straight-laced engineer. Russian-born Irena has an erotic allure that drives her husband mad – but, unfortunately, she refuses to let him touch her, for fear that she might turn into a rabid zombie cat. In the first film, Irena's husband and his blonde, all-American secretary quell the foreign threat; Simone came back as Irena's ghost in the far-inferior sequel.
Simon all but left Hollywood not long after making Curse. Feeling type cast as the sexy "other" and generally tired of making mediocre films, Simon returned to France, where she retired in 1973. She never married, but was said to have given her many lovers, including George Gershwin, a golden key to her bedroom door. She died last spring at the age of 94.