Wednesday, February 29, 2012
YEAR 1942: IRENA DUBROVNA
Femmes formidables in 1942 aren't quite as numerous as in '41, but the superhero comics-boom still showed some strong contenders. However, as I want to keep some focus on other media, I'll focus first on one of the first "female monsters" to appear in sound cinema: the "cat woman" Irena Dubrovna.
I confess I'm not a huge fan of 1942's CAT PEOPLE, with its "did she did or did she didn't turn into a panther" schtick. This suggestive approach to the horror genre is perfectly fine for those who like it, but I tend to prefer a less ambiguous approach myself.
That said, though the viewer can never be absolutely sure whether or not Irena's transformations are the result of a disturbed mind tormented by jealousy and the crassness of American culture, Simone Simon's performance as Irena at least makes it possible for one to see her as the inheritor of the strange power of "the cat people." In that respect at least, Irena does display the power of a femme formidable.