19th century France: Charles Regnier (Carl Esmond) is a famed novelist
who has just returned to Paris and written a bestseller - which is on the
verge of being banned because it contains many a detail of a secret trial
Charles isn't even supposed to know about. Then one evening, Deveraux
(Francis McDonald), a man closely connected with the trial and one of
Charles' critics is killed by what is described as a catman, and oddly
enough, Charles has no recollections about that evening.
Charles is engaged to Marguerite Duval (Adele Mara), but as she only
loves him for his status and everything, he has been getting bored by her
lately and fallen in love with young Marie (Lénore Aubert), the very
natural daughter of his publisher (Francis Pierlot) - thing is, Marguerite
doesn't want to let Charles go ... until she is eventually also killed by
the Catman, and again, Charles has no recollections about the time the
murder took place ... but the police has found quite some evidence leading
to him, and before he knows it, Charles, accompanied by Marie and his best
friend and agent Henri (Douglass Dumbrille), finds himself on the run.
Soon, Henri makes arrangements for Charles to escape to Spain while he
warns Marie that Charles really is the Catman and even gives her a gun to
defend herself ... and wouldn't you know it, later that night Marie is
really attacked by the Catman, and her gun has no effect at all. Only in
the nick of time is the Catman shot by police inspector Severen (Gerald
Mohr), who had tracked the Catman down to here and who soon finds out
Marie's gun was loaded with blanks.
In the end, the Catman turns out to be not Charles after all but Henri,
who had some mystic powers that enabled him to telepathically transmit
facts about the secret trial to Charles, to make Charles lose his memory
every time he, Henri, turned into the Catman and killed somebody, and to
turn into the Catman into the first place.
And of course in the end Charles gets the girl.
Typical Republic B horror flick: The story isn't completely
thought-through, the make up effects are at best so-so, and the Paris-sets
are not neccessarily all that convincing - and still the film is quite
entertaining, and pepped up by some Western elements, including a barroom
brawl and a carriage chase (including blazing guns and a carriage crash).
No classic, surely, but in all quite entertaining.