The Catman of Paris (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

In 1896 a heralded author returns to Paris after extended travels abroad and he begins to believe he may be the strange "catman" that is being spotted around the city as strange killings occur.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Republic Pictures was known for its B-movies and serials like The Lone Ranger (1938) and its follow-up The Lone Ranger Rides Again (1939), and Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941). The Catman of Paris is a B-horror that was not the strength of the studio.

A reductive imitation of the superior Cat People (1942) and Werewolf of London (1935), Catman sets itself in 1896 Paris. Author Charles Regnier (Carl Esmond) returns to Paris after extended travels abroad. His French gentlemen friends are happy to see him, the ladies of Paris fawn over him but are disheartened to learn he is engaged. Strange deaths begin to occur around the city, including an official clawed to death on the dark Paris streets. Regnier, who is suffering memory losses, begins to believe he may be the catman people claim to be seeing.

Across its short 63-minute run time, The Cat Man of Paris seems determined to spin its wheels, but ultimately go nowhere. Set pieces like a horrific attack in a carriage on a socialite has undertones of a sexual assault, the catman dropping from a tree like a cat to attack one unsuspecting victim, and others are entertaining if disconnected.

  • The Catman of Paris (1946)
  • The Catman of Paris (1946)
  • The Catman of Paris (1946)
  • The Catman of Paris (1946)
  • Carl Esmond in The Catman of Paris (1946)
  • The Catman of Paris (1946) – Imprint Collection #219

The Video

Imprint’s release of The Catman of Paris is taken from a 2017 4K scan of the original camera negative. It is brought to Blu-ray in a 1.37:1 AVC 1080p encodement. The original source for this film does not look too pristine, so even a 4K scan from only six years ago does not reach what would be considered reference quality. Given the issues with the negative, however, they have done well to present a natural, noise free image with a good amount of detail and some nuance in the shadows. The black levels tend to waver, showing washout in places, and some issues with scratches and tramlines that are unavoidable.

The Audio

The original monaural mix for The Catman of Paris is provided in LPCM 2.0 on this Blu-ray release from Imprint Films. The dialogue is intelligible, and the sound is crisp if hardly dynamic.

The Supplements

Imprint Films provides the goods for a strong yet small collection of bonus features, including the excellent and jovial, conversational audio commentary with Kim Newman and Stephen Jones. An archival documentary on Republic Pictures and video essay by Kat Ellinger round out the supplements.

  • Audio Commentary by Kim Newman and Stephen Jones (NEW)
  • “The Republic Pictures Story” – Documentary (SD; 01:53:20)
  • “Mark of the Beast: Myth Making and Masculinity in The Catman of Paris” – Video Essay by Kat Ellinger (1080p; 00:17:40) (NEW)
  • Limited Edition slipcase on the first 1500 copies with unique artwork

The Final Assessment

The Catman of Paris is a curiosity from the immediate post-war era of Poverty Row studio Republic Pictures. With this worldwide Blu-ray debut Imprint Films offers an opportunity for cinephiles and videophiles to discover film.


The Catman of Paris is out on Blu-ray in Australia May 31, 2023, from Imprint Films.


  • Rating Certificate: Australia: M
  • Studios & Distributors: Republic Pictures | Imprint Films
  • Director: Lesley Selander
  • Written By: Sherman L. Lowe
  • Run Time: 63 Mins.
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English LPCM 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English HOH
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In 1896 a heralded author returns to Paris after extended travels abroad and he begins to believe he may be the strange "catman" that is being spotted around the city as strange killings occur.The Catman of Paris (Blu-ray Review)