Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

The Leopard Man Main Title
This week’s mystery movie was the 1943 RKO picture The Leopard Man, with Dennis O’Keefe, Margo, Jean Brooks, Isabel Jewell, James Bell, Margaret Landry, Abner Biberman, Tula Parma and Ben Bard.

Music by Roy Webb. Musical direction by C. Bakaleinikoff. Photography by Robert de Grasse. Art direction by Albert S. D’Agostino and Walter E. Keller. Set decorations by Darrell Silvera and Al Fields…

Recorded by J.C. Grubb, edited by Mark Robson. Assistant director William Dorfman.

Screenplay by Ardel Wray. Additional dialogue by Edward Dein. From the novel Black Alibi by Cornell Woolrich.

Produced by Val Lewton.

Directed by Jacques Tourneur.

The Leopard Man is available on Blu-ray from TCM.


I picked The Leopard Man because of this publicity photo in Showmen’s Trade Review, which I found while researching last week’s mystery movie, Inflation.

I cheated by looking last week. Bosley Crowther hated it. Of course. Variety (May 5, 1943) didn’t care much for it either.

Leopard_Man_review_variety150-1943-05_0015 Leopard_Man_review_variety150-1943-05_0015

July 12, 2021, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a mystery gent. And he does not approve of such goings-on.

Update: This is John Piffle.

July 13, 2021, Mystery Photo

I suppose I’ve exhausted the category of mystery cows, at least for this year. So for Tuesday, here’s a mysterious feline.

Update: This is Dynamite.

July 14, 2021, Mystery Photo

For “Hm Wednesday,” we have this mysterious young woman.

Update: This is Margaret Landry, who has one of the most memorable off-screen deaths in film.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery florist and Tuesday’s mysterious feline), Jenny M. (mystery movie, Monday’s mysterious florist and Tuesday’s mysterious feline), Megan and Thom (Monday’s mysterious florist), Sheila (mystery movie, Monday’s mysterious florist and Tuesday’s mystery feline), Alexa (mystery movie!!! Monday’s mystery florist!!! Tuesday’s mystery feline!!!) E. Yarber (mystery movie, Monday’s mysterious florist and Tuesday’s mystery feline) and Sylvia E. (mystery movie, Monday’s mysterious florist, Tuesday’s mystery feline and unseen mystery woman, and mystery director).

July 15, 2021, Mystery Photo

For “Aha Thursday,” we have this mystery gent. Plus Back of the Head Guy.

Update: This is Abner Biberman as Back of the Head Guy with James Bell.

July 15, 2021, Mystery Photo
Also for “Aha Thursday,” we have this mysterious fortune teller. The cards do not look good.

Update: This is Isabel Jewell.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Wednesday’s mystery woman), Floyd Thursby (mystery movie and mystery producer), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie, all mystery guests, plus mysterious feline’s off-screen companion), Dan Nather (mystery movie and mysterious producer), Megan and Thom (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery woman), Sylvia E. (Wednesday’s mystery woman), E. Yarber (Wednesday’s mystery woman) and Roget-L.A. (mystery movie and all mystery guests).

Note to Chrisbo: Almost but not quite.

July 16, 2021, Mystery Photo

For Friday, we have a mysterious woman. Not shown: Mysterious castanets. Click click clickety click click click.

Update: This is Margo. Clickety click click click!

July 16, 2021, Mystery Photo

We also have this mysterious couple.

Update: This is Jean Brooks and Dennis O’Keefe.

Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Thursday’s mystery guests, mystery director, mystery producer), Sylvia E. (Thursday’s mystery guests, peering into the future to predict Friday’s mystery guests), Tucson Barbara (Thursday’s mystery gents), Beach Gal (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests), Anne Papineau (mystery movie, Monday’s mystery gent, Tuesday’s mysterious feline, Wednesday’s mystery woman and Thursday’s mystery fortune teller), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests), E. Yarber (Thursday’s mystery guests and interesting insights into our mysterious film) and Roget-L.A. (Thursday’s mystery guests).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1943, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. David Inman says:

    A blind stab — “Walk East on Beacon!”


  2. Mary Mallory says:

    John Piffle Monday and dynamite today, for CAT PEOPLE. Two Tom conways in one year?


  3. Mary Mallory says:

    Wrong title, THE LEOPARD MAN, but same actor and Dynamite. Two Dennis O’Keefes in one year instead.


  4. Jenny M says:

    Dynamite the leopard in The Leopard Man.


  5. Jenny M says:

    Monday was John Piffle. Jean Brooks is at the other end Dynamite’s leash.


  6. Megan and Thom says:

    This week’s movie is “Cat People”. Monday’s guest is John Piffle.


  7. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    I’m getting an AIP vibe.


  8. Sheila says:

    John Piffle and Dynamite, ‘The Leopard Man’?


  9. Alexa says:

    John Piffle!!!
    The Leopard Man!!!


  10. E. Yarber says:

    Well dog my cats and Val my Lewton, I’m able to ID another mystery movie not too long after THE OLD DARK HOUSE. Guess I must have a deep but narrow range for classic horror films.

    Monday we see John Piffle in THE LEOPARD MAN, disapproving of Margo’s Clo-Clo trying to castanet a free flower from him. He was previously seen in Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur’s CAT PEOPLE, running the Serbian restaurant where Elizabeth Russell made catty remarks to Simone Simon.

    Tuesday’s mystery panther is Dynamite, who also appeared in CAT PEOPLE, this time as the caged beast. Apparently he showed enough screen presence there to get further range (both artistically and territorially) in Lewton and Tourneur’s third film as an escaped snake-oil lure roaming rural New Mexico making groceries out of grocery shoppers. Dynamite made no further films after this, so he either retired or became an agent.


  11. Sylvia E. says:

    I’m trying to figure out the apron on Monday’s guy. Is he a butler by any chance?


  12. Sylvia E. says:

    The Leopard Man 1943 – directed by Jacques Tourneur
    Monday’s “apron guy” is John Piffle (the flower seller)
    Tuesday – Dynamite, the leopard with Jean Brooks cropped out as the leash holder


  13. bruce says:

    Is that Theo Marcuse?


  14. Mary Mallory says:

    Margaret Landry.


  15. Floyd Thursby says:

    This is “The Leopard Man,” a Val Lewton production.


  16. tucsonbarbara says:

    “The Leopard Man”

    Mon – John Piffle (best name ever!)
    Tues – Dynamite (almost typed it as Dy-no-mite!)
    Wed – Margaret Landry


  17. Chrisbo says:

    Is the film Cat People?


  18. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    THE LEOPARD MAN (1943)
    Monday: John Piffle
    TUESDAY: Dynamite, walked by Jean Brooks
    WEDNESDAY: Margaret Landry


  19. Dan Nather says:

    I’m guessing this is a Val Lewton film, probably THE LEOPARD MAN . . .


  20. Megan and Thom says:

    The movie is “The Leopard Man” and today’s mystery guest is Margaret Landry.


  21. Sylvia E. says:

    Weds – poor Margaret Landry.

    The old, local “Million Dollar Movie” program aired this film all week long when I was a kid. The later scene with the doomed (and OS) Ms Landry and her family absolutely terrified me. Thanks for the memories (brrrrr…)


  22. E. Yarber says:

    Margaret Landry wasn’t in films long (she got into three “Falcon” movies with Lewton star Tom Conway), but at least she got to star in a classic scene. The Lewton team called it a “Bus” sequence because they’d hit paydirt in CAT PEOPLE with a moment in which the tension of a character walking down a creepy street exploded when a bus suddenly pulled up and hissed loudly. The night walk in LEOPARD MAN is even longer with more twists, including the scariest tumbleweed in film history, and this time the poor pedestrian doesn’t escape. A thump against a stuck door, followed by something awful pouring under the crack, and all the gore you can imagine does more work than a week of special effects.


  23. Rogét-L.A. says:

    Monday’s mystery flower vendor is John Piffle. Tuesday’s mysterious feline is Dynamite. Wednesday’s mysterious young woman is Margaret Landry. Mystery movie is The Leopard Man (1943).


  24. Mary Mallory says:

    BOTH guy is Abner Biberman with James Bell, and then Isabel Jewell for today. Jacques Tourneur director, son of renowned silent film director Maurice tourneur. Val Lewton and tourneur junior got their start with producer David O. Selznick.


  25. Sylvia E. says:

    Thurs – the good doctor, James Bell appearing to be very wise with his pipe and BOTHG Abner Biberman / Isabel Jewell our very serious fortune teller.

    Friday should bring Dennis O’Keefe, Margo and Jean Brooks.


  26. tucsonbarbara says:

    Abner (BOTH guy) Biberman, James Bell


  27. beachgal says:

    Movie is The Leopard Man (1943).
    Monday florist is John Piffle
    Tues black leopard is Dynamite
    Thurs man with pipe is James Bell. BOTH guy is Abner Bieberman.
    Thurs fortune teller is Isabell Jewell


  28. mike hawks says:

    James Bell, Abner Biberman and Isabel Jewell in THE LEOPARD MAN.


  29. Anne Papineau says:

    John Piffle, Dynamite, Margaret Landry, Ben Bard and Isabel Jewell in “The Leopard Man”


  30. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Abner Biberman, James Bell; Isabel Jewell.


  31. E. Yarber says:

    The two characters featured today get to the heart of the picture: an anthropologist (James Bell) and fortune teller (Isabel Jewell, whose career spanned pre-code to Warhol), with poor Abner Biberman’s Charlie in the middle.

    All three of Lewton and Tourneur’s films center on the conflict between modern thought and folk belief. In CAT PEOPLE, psychiatry is disastrously employed to deal with an ancient curse, while I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE features a westernized doctor who realizes that Voodoo rites have a stabilizing effect on the locals. THE LEOPARD MAN explores this conflict even further.

    In contemporary culture, the events in our lives are largely felt to spring from coincidence, while older traditions spring from a sense of interconnection between our world and that of the spirits. Bell’s Doctor Galbraith expresses this view when expounding on the random fate that keeps a ball balanced atop a fountain of water. At the end of the story, our protagonists revisit that fountain and realize that the water suspending that ball is far from random, just as the Fortune Teller finds a grim certainty in the fall of her cards not matched by Galbraith’s twisted relativism.

    Actually, Galbraith doesn’t show much respect for the culture he supposedly documents. He treats the items in his museum more as trophies than artifacts, and is quick to opportunistically suggest that Native American Charlie may have committed the crimes under the influence of firewater once the natural force of the leopard is called into doubt as the killer. Fittingly, the real murderer is exposed during a procession commemorating the genocide of the original inhabitants of the region.

    Lewton was a remarkably multicultural creator in his day, whether it was presenting black characters with true dignity or expressing a darkly skeptical view of the clinical scientific viewpoints represented in BEDLAM and THE BODY SNATCHER. Follow the bouncing ball.


  32. Rogét-L.A. says:

    For “Aha Thursday,” it looks like we have James Bell and Isabel Jewell.


  33. Mary Mallory says:

    Margo and then Jean Brooks with Dennis O’Keefe today. Jean Brooks in FALCON IN HOLLYWOOD (several others as well) and THE SEVENTH VICTIM. Dennis O’Keefe number two this year too.


  34. tucsonbarbara says:

    Margo, Jean Brooks, Dennis O’Keefe


  35. beachgal says:

    Fri Jean Brooks, Margo with Dennis O’Keefe.


  36. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Margo; Jean Brooks, Dennis O’Keefe.


  37. Gary says:

    Tuesday;s foto should have been sufficient to identify The Leopard Man…with Dennis O;k…but for me it was not enough!


  38. Sylvia E. says:

    Friday – there they are:. Margo, Jean Brooks and Dennis O’Keefe.

    Enjoyed this movie choice. I also enjoyed Tourneur’s “Cat People”. He must have had an affinity for stories about large felines. Really looking forward to Saturday’s breakdown.


  39. E. Yarber says:

    There’s probably no better illustration of just how degraded the horror genre had become in Val Lewton’s time than noting that Kate Drain Lawson went straight from playing the mother in LEOPARD MAN to appearing as Claude Rains’ bickering landlady in Universal’s remake of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, which took the view that audiences were more interested in Opera than Phantom. By then, monsters were contract players who aimed to please by going through familiar paces.

    By contrast, Lewton upended the conventions of the form. Horror films typically presented the supernatural as an aberration that had to be smothered so that rational order could be restored. Lewton’s theme was that humanity had lost more than it had gained by rejecting the magical traditions that had inspired previous generations. Consider the soulless mysticism of the Satanists in THE SEVENTH VICTIM, who turn the occult into the same sort of oppressive hierarchy as the boarding school Kim Hunter escapes, or the parents in CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE who almost lose their child by failing to perceive her rich fantasy world.

    in THE LEOPARD MAN, Charlie represents a sort of disgraced Shaman. Where once his people worshipped the natural qualities of animals, he uses a tamed big cat as a prop to lure customers to his cheap tonic. This beast is exploited in turn by Dennis O’Keefe’s Jerry in order to try to give his client Kiki (Jean Brooks) an edge over Clo-Clo (Margo), whose dancing may be more exciting because she still reflects some ethnic personality rather than the bland polish of a urban lounge act. This petty quarrel results in dark forces being unleashed as Clo-Clo impulsively sets the panther free to do what panthers usually do.

    But then the characters take different paths. Jerry and Kiki realize that they’ve acted badly and begin to understand that they’ve been chasing after the wrong priorities. Clo-Clo ignores the implications of her role in the debacle and continues as before. That attitude momentarily works in her favor, as a rich Anglo hands her a large tip, but this windfall proves illusory and Clo-Clo loses her life trying to regain the money. While the film makes clear that Clo-Clo isn’t entirely selfish for wanting the cash, she goes too far in pursuit of it. Jerry and Kiki end the story embracing human values while developing a respect for the deeper undercurrents of reality. They’ve discovered the hollow core of the mercenary culture they came from.

    It’s possible that Lewton was familiar with Margaret Mead’s work, though the structural anthropology of Levi-Strauss was still some years away. Regardless of what inspired his thought, he presents a clear picture of what the modern world can learn from the patterns “primitive” people had employed for most of mankind’s history. His films still carry intellectual heft long after their making, while more conventional horror films of the time show their age. The latter can still be fun, but don’t engage you on the level of Lewton’s perceptive storytelling.


  40. Megan and Thom says:

    Thursday’s pipe smoker is James Bell with back-of-the-head man, Abner Biberman and Isabel Jewell in the second shot. For today there Is Margo in the first scene with Jean Brooks and Dennis O’Keefe in the second scene.


  41. mike hawks says:

    Margo, Jean Brooks and Dennis O’Keefe.


  42. Anne Papineau says:

    On Friday, Margot as Clo-Clo, Dennis O’Keefe and Jean Brooks as Kiki


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