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Monday, October 9, 2017

The Seventh Victim (1943)

When a young schoolgirl (Kim Hunter) is informed that her older sister (Jean Brooks) is missing, she heads for Manhattan to try and locate her. It soon becomes clear that certain people don't want her sister found. Directed by Mark Robson (PEYTON PLACE) in his first directorial effort. This may be my favorite of the classic Val Lewton RKO horror films, sort of the ROSEMARY'S BABY of its day. It still blows me away that something so bleak and nihilistic could come out of 1940s Hollywood. Most films would probably end after the Lord's Prayer being recited by Tom Conway (playing the same character he played in Lewton's CAT PEOPLE) and Orford Gage or perhaps on the two lovers (Hunter and LEAVE IT TO BEAVER's Hugh Beaumont). But instead, it ends on a startling morbid moment! Needless to say, audiences stayed away in 1943. Critics weren't very kind either but its stature has grown significantly since then to the point where it's now recognized as a psychological horror classic. The excellent shadowy lensing is by Nicholas Musuraca (OUT OF THE PAST). With Evelyn Brent, Isabel Jewell, Lou Lubin and Barbara Hale.

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