At least three of director Jacques Tourneur's films - Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie and The Leopard Man - are recognized as horror classics. Yet his contributions to these films are often minimized by scholars, with most of the credit going to the films' producer, Val Lewton.
A detailed examination of the director's full body of work reveals that those elements most evident in the Tourneur-Lewton collaborations - the lack of monsters and the stylized use of suggested violence - are equally apparent in Tourneur's films before and after his work with Lewton. Mystery and sensuality were hallmarks of his style, and he possessed a highly artistic visual and aural style. This insightful critical study examines each of Tourneur's films, as well as his extensive work on MGM shorts (1936-1942) and in television. What emerges is evidence of a highly coherent directorial style that runs throughout Tourneur's works.