Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The 7th Victim Shadows of the Dark|
Actor: Isabel Jewell
Director: Mark Robson
The Seventh Victim (1943, 71)- Producer Val Lewton once more utilized leftover Magnificent Ambersons sets for his psychological horror piece The Seventh Victim. Kim Hunter arrives in New York's Greenwich Village in search ... more »
Similarly Requested DVDs
Val Lewton movie and biography
bernie | Arlington, Texas | 06/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 7th Victim
"He calleth all his children by name"
"I runne to death, and death meets me as fast, and all my pleasures are like yesterday" ("Holy Sonnet" VII Jonne Donne.)
Mary Gibson (Kim Hunter) is called to the office of here boarding school. There she is confronted with the fact that her sister is missing; the person who tells this is Mrs. Lowood (Ottola Nesmith) the person who runs the school. Now where have we heard the name Lowood before?
As you have already guessed Mary fearing something is afoot, is compelled to locate her sister Jacqueline (Jean Brooks). On her quest she meets various characters, all wanting to help her. We must guess whether they are good guys or have nefarious motives. One such character is Doctor Louis Judd (Tom Conway same name and similar character used in "Cat People").
Will Mary find her sister?
On the way will Mary find true love, at what cost?
Why the seventh victim, who were the other six?
Yes I know this is a Val Lewton production and if it is his best or worst, this film has his signature of being more psychological than supernatural. That is why this film is more than just a who-done-it.
"Shadows in the Dark"
This is more of a Val Lewton biography with more emphasis on his producer years.
A fine Kim Hunter in an okay Val Lewton-produced eerie progr
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 11/03/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This Val Lewton-produced programer is noteworthy for just three things. First, an effective atmosphere of creepy mystery, accentuated by lots of night scenes, dark alleys and shadowy doorways. Second, some effective characterizations by actors who never escaped from B-movie purgatory. Third, and by far the most important, an excellent performance by Kim Hunter in her first movie role.
The Seventh Victim is the story of Mary Gibson (Kim Hunter), a young woman who leaves her school in search of her older sister, Jacqueline (Jean Brooks). Jackie had raised Mary, and now Jackie has disappeared in New York City. She had owned a hair salon but seems to have sold it to her partner, an older woman named Mrs. Redi. Mary talks to Mrs. Redi but gets no information. She tracks down a room Jackie rented above a small Italian restaurant and discovers a noose hanging there. A seedy private investigator says he'll help Mary. After they break into the deserted salon in the middle of the night, all the detective finds is a knife thrust into his stomach. Mary meets a lawyer who lies about his relationship with Jackie, then a psychiatrist who appears to be playing all sides of the problem; then a young poet who finds a new love of writing after meeting Mary.
But then Mary learns of a group of people in Greenwich Village who are...yes, devil worshipers. Can things get worse for Mary? Who among the people she's met genuinely want to help her and who might be members of the coven? Is Jackie a member of the coven...is she a murderer...does she love death? Can group hope cause a suicide? Does the quote we read at the beginning of the movie by John Donne -- "I runne to death, and death meets me as fast, and all my pleasures are like yesterday" -- apply to Mary or to Jackie?
The Seventh Victim works as an okay programer for the first three-quarters. That's when we've met Mary and join her as she tries to find her sister. The last 15 minutes, however, suddenly veers into Jackie's story. Since we don't really know Jackie all that well, it's hard to get interested in her. The wrap-up, when we're back to Mary, seems hurried. Still, the movie delivers uneasy suspense in three scenes. They all involve Mary and they all depend on Kim Hunter's reactions. There's the night-time entry into the hair salon, the lonely subway ride late at night when Mary discovers a corpse, and the shower scene with a shadowy second person looming behind the curtain.
Kim Hunter does an excellent job as Mary. She engages our sympathy as soon as we meet her. Mary's age is never mentioned, but we assume she is about 17 or 18. Hunter's Mary is shy but determined and, in a quiet way, self-assured. At one point Mary and Gregory Ward, a friend of Jackie's, are sitting at a counter in a diner. Gregory has a cup of coffee in front of him and Mary, a glass of milk. "Drink your milk," he tells her. She looks him in the eye. "I don't like to be ordered to do anything." "I'm sorry," he says, "I didn't intend to treat you like a child." Mary may be young and inexperienced, but she has steel in her backbone.
Hunter was an actor of intelligence and skill. She brought believability and sincerity to a role. She's remembered now, if at all, for just three movies: Powell and Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death, A Streetcar Named Desire (she won best supporting actress) and Planet of the Apes. Her movie career was effectively shredded in 1950 when she was named as a possible Commie sympathizer and blacklisted. Her "crime?" Signing petitions in support of free speech. She went back to Broadway and maintained a solid presence on the stage and in television. "For a long while I wouldn't talk about it at all," she said much later about the blacklisting. "I do now because there's a whole new generation that doesn't remember. And the more one knows, the more one can see, and not allow history to repeat itself."
As for the other actors, keep an eye out for Tom Conway as Dr. Louis Judd. Conway, like his brother, George Sanders, could give off waves of lazy charm. Conway also seemed to be one of those actors who always gave a patina of possible sleaze to a character. In this movie, he kept me guessing for a long time as to what his motives were.
The DVD transfer looks fine for an older film. The extras include the documentary "Shadows in the Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy" and a commentary track by Steve Haberman, identified as a film historian."