Friday, August 31, 2018

Movie Review: The Seventh Victim (1943)

The Seventh Victim (1943) directed by Mark Robson

Boarding school student Mary (Kim Hunter) is called into the office for trouble. Her tuition hasn't been paid in six months. Her sister Jacqueline (Jean Brooks) lives in New York City and owns a cosmetics company. But she hasn't paid the tuition or been in contact for the six months. Mary decides to go to New York to look for her sister. She makes a lot of surprising discoveries--her sister sold the company, got married, and was involved in a Greenwich Village cult! The cult turns out to be Satan worshippers, though they are hardly costumed, chanting, raving lunatics. They look very mundane but they are after Jacqueline, the titular seventh victim of their cult.

The story moves in fits and starts with lots of strange events. The terror slowly builds as more information comes in and the awfulness of the situation grows worse and worse. Weirdly, Dr. Judd (Tom Conway) from Cat People is in the movie, so this must be set earlier, though it is hardly a prequel. Conway gives a good performance and his character is smarmy as ever. Brooks also gives a great performance as a world-weary and frightened woman. The movie looks great, with lots of stylish direction and fascinating locations--film noir galore. The understated performances give realism to the story. The theme is rather bleak and pessimistic, all the way to the end. I don't agree with the world view presented here but I appreciate the well-crafted work.


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