The Curse of the Cat People
There are countless cases of Hollywood producers meddling with directors' artistic vision, as the crude demands of commercialism ruin ambitious creative endeavors. But it must be admitted that, sometimes, the push-and-pull between bottom-line moneymen and iconoclastic artists results in fascinatingly rich cinematic texts. Case in point: The Curse of the Cat People, which was marketed by RKO Studios as a sequel to the 1942 chiller Cat People, though the filmmakers—among them producer Val Lewton, directors Robert Wise and Gunther von Fritsch, and screenwriter DeWitt Bodeen—instead created a fantastic world ruled by childlike imagination, as well as a bewitching ode to the power of storytelling.
The Wizard of Oz
Not many movies can claim to be a beloved landmark in our pop-culture consciousness as well as a personal favorite of such iconoclasts as Salman Rushdie and David Lynch. Such is the paradoxical nature of The Wizard of Oz, which is both a masterpiece of lavish, big-budget entertainment and a nightmarish journey into the uncanny—a shining example of how movies make our deepest childhood dreams and terrors come true. I remember first seeing The Wizard of Oz at five or six years old and being unable to sleep for days because of the Wicked Witch and her Flying Monkeys; even now, when the green-hued witch appears in a red fireball to destroy the peace of Munchkinland, or when her devilish monkeys flit across the ground and abscond with Dorothy into the sky, I shudder at such a primal image of innocence besieged by monstrous evil.