The Val Lewton Blogathon, which is taking place
|Note the number on the apartment door. This is not a good omen.|
|This symbol, found in a book on black magic by Hoag, will be used as a trademark of La Sagesse beauty products (La Sagesse is French for "the way"). Four parallelograms + three sides of the triangle...makes seven.|
The Seventh Victim (1943). While pros and cons can be offered up as to whether or not it’s the producer’s masterpiece (some make a strong case for Zombie, others say Cat People or The Body Snatcher), it’s my darling because it highlights a fascinating world of foreboding pessimism, where terror lurks underneath a mundane, everyday surface, and where the “big city” is unrelenting in its depiction of nocturnal menace.
On the first three Val Lewton pictures—Cat People, Zombie and The Leopard Man—Lewton assembled a production team that included director Jacques Tourneur and film editor Mark Robson. The success of the three films prompted R-K-O to split up the teaming of Lewton and Tourneur, reasoning that they would be on the receiving end of twice as many successful pictures if they worked separately. Indeed, R-K-O had planned to move Lewton up into the “A” category of films…but they balked when Lewton announced that he wanted give the untested Robson a chance to direct. The studio gave their producer an ultimatum: find another director or languish in B-picturedom. Out of loyalty to Robson, Lewton agreed to stay put…though you could also argue that the producer realized he’d be able to sneak things past the studio as long as he was working the low-budget side of the street.
|Only in a Lewton film would something as simple as a morgue be rewarded with a literary allusion.|
|And I also chuckled when I saw that the librarian helping poet Hoag is played by Sarah Selby, best known to Gunsmoke fans as "Ma Smalley," the owner of Dodge City's best boarding house.|