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Archive for March 18th, 2011

Director: Mark Robson

Producer: Val Lewton

Screenwriters: Dewitt Bodeen and Charles O’Neal

Cinematographer: Nicholas Musuraca

Music: Roy Webb

Studio: RKO 1943

Main Acting: Kim Hunter, Tom Conway, and Jean Brooks

As the back of my DVD cover states by way of Chris Auty, “half noir, half gothic” is the best way to describe The Seventh Victim.  The story of Val Lewton’s evolution from David O. Selznick’s assistant to being the producer of the horror unit at RKO has been well documented many times before. Between 1942 and 1946, he was responsible for creating eleven pictures (two of which were unrelated to the series) that helped the studio stay afloat and posthumously earned him accolades. While the films entrusted to Lewton were supposed to be Universal horror movie knock-offs with lurid names like I Walked With A Zombie and Cat People, the producer was more interested in creating poetic works of art that ruminated on life and death. The pain of having to live in a complex world filled with hardships greatly fascinated him. His features all deal with existential grief and are best exemplified by the title of one of Christian Fennesz’s wondrous compositions, “The Point Of It All.” (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(France 1937 88m) not on DVD

Aka. Lady Killer

L’ami de Lucien

p  Raoul Ploquin  d  Jean Grémillon  w  Charles Spaak  ph  Günther Rittau  ed  Jean Grémillon  m  Lothar Bruhne  art  Hermann Asmus, Max Mellin

Jean Gabin (Lucien Bourrache), Mireille Balin (Madeleine), René Lefèvre (René), Margurite Deval (Madame Courtois), Jane Marken (Madame Cailloux), Jean Aymé (valet de chamber), Henri Poupon (Monsieur Cailloux), Pierre Magnier (commandant), Pierre Etchepare (Hotel patron),

It’s not well known today.  Unavailable on DVD in the English speaking world – like all Grémillon’s major works, come to that – perhaps due to the use of some salty language (an ‘f’ word here, a merde there) that would have necessitated whitewashing for British and American audiences.  Yet it’s a pivotal film not just in Grémillon’s career but in thirties French cinema, caught equidistant between the early thirties optimism and late thirties pessimism, and gave its stars roles that they seized with the glee of hunger-strikers offered up a roast dinner forgetting that if they eat too much too quickly, it can be fatal.  Welcome to the world where “unconstitutionally” means “je t’aime.”  (more…)

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