Amazing Stories

Weird and Intriguing: Cat People Score Sounds Remarkably Like Star Wars Score

I was hoping to include audio files for comparison in this article, but I just don’t have the time to edit everything and, considering that yesterday was basically Star Wars day (and I’d have to wait a whole ‘nother year to take advantage of the SW attention):

A week or so ago the film Cat People (1942*) was playing on the TV in the background and I kept on asking myself “who changed the channel to watch Star Wars?”

I’d get up, step out of the office and look at the TV.  Huh.  Still Cat People.

Then it would happen again.

I thought, maybe they keep running Force Awakens commercials and I’m just missing them.

But no, TCM doesn’t have commercial interruption.

The next time it happened, I stepped out of the office and actually watched the film for a while.

Sure enough, I kept on hearing strains, echoes, of several of the themes from the John Williams score for Star Wars, elements of Luke’s theme, the main theme, interstitial stuff.

Not exact, mind you, but close enough that without the imagery in front of me, hearing the notes instantly made me think of Star Wars (Episode IV:  A New Hope.  For all of you kids who weren’t fortunate enough to see the original before it had been franchised…)

I had the original first pressing of the Star Wars soundtrack LP (a big, plastic spinny thing with grooves that, with the proper technology, could be made to play audio sounds.  Wish I still had it.)

Anyway.  I looked up Cat People on IMDB and discovered that the score was by Roy Webb.  He also did the score for Curse of the Cat People (which sounds an awful lot like the score for Cat People).

I’ve listened and listened.  Yep, sounds an awful lot like Williams’ score.

Note:  I mention this similarity out of interest, not in anyway accusatory.  It may be that John Williams watched these films at some point, then again, maybe not.  I certainly don’t think he “copied” it in anyway.  The fact that I didn’t use a click-bait title like “Did John Williams Copy the Score From Star Wars From Roy Webb?” (on May the Fourth) should be evidence enough that I’m not going there. But the similarity is amazing.

Give them a listen yourself.

Both Cat People and Curse of the Cat People can be found on Archive.org.  The original Star Wars soundtrack can be listened to on YouTube.

*Giorgio Moroder’s soundtrack – with David Bowie – for the 1982 remake of Cat People – is fantastic and unlike either Roy Webb or John Williams.

One thought on "Weird and Intriguing: Cat People Score Sounds Remarkably Like Star Wars Score"

  1. Duncan Long says:

    Interesting. I
    suppose since Lucas was trying to duplicate some of the Saturday matinee
    feel with his movies (that scrolling start can be found on the old
    Flash Gordon serials as well as the screen transitions and wipes, for example), it
    would make sense that the old RKO soundtracks would also inspire the
    music. I suspect there are a lot more “salutes” to the old movies in
    Star Wars than anyone has yet noticed.

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