THE SEVENTH VICTIM (1943) B/W 72m dir: Mark Robson
w/Tom Conway, Kim Hunter, Jean Brooks, Hugh Beaumont, Erford Gage, Elizabeth Russell
A supernatural film noir, made on a B movie budget, that contains some of the most poetic (yet chilling) moments ever seen in a horror movie. The straightforward story line has Hunter playing a young woman who searches Greenwich Village for traces of her missing sister, who's become involved with a group of satanists. The eerie sense of foreboding and despair that underscores her search help to set this film apart from the rather tame, higher-budgeted horror films of the era. Naturally, THE SEVENTH VICTIM is a collaboration, but it is truly the artistic product of its producer, Val Lewton, a sensitive and creative man who was not given much in the way of money or praise when he made his films. Quoting from Joel E. Siegel's book, The Reality of Terror, "In all of his best work, one finds Lewton embracing dark, negating forces --- suicide, diabolism, witchcraft. THE SEVENTH VICTIM is his most forthright negation, a film in which existence is portrayed as a hellish void from which all souls yearn for the sweet release of death." Particularly, take notice of the John Donne quote which both opens and closes the film, the pre-PSYCHO shower scene, and poignant use of the doomed character "Mimi," so touchingly created by Elizabeth Russell (who plays similarly pivotal roles in Lewton's CAT PEOPLE and its sequel, THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE).