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An evening of Val Lewton


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TCM does this annually every October-- they spotlight a bunch of Val Lewton horror films from the 1940s. Sometimes it is during the daytime, but this year they are giving Lewton and his films a whole evening, on October 30th.

 

Check out these great suspenseful treats:

 

CAT PEOPLE (1942)...though I prefer the follow up, CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE

THE SEVENTH VCITIM (1943)...with all its recycled sets from THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS

THE LEOPARD MAN (1943)...Dennis O'Keefe like you've never seen him

THE GHOST SHIP (1943)...very underrated, it was Richard Dix's last film at RKO

THE BODY SNATCHER (1945)...Boris Karloff, and one of Robert Wise's first films as director

ISLE OF THE DEAD (1945)...very spooky, critic James Agee praised Frances Dee's performance

BEDLAM (1946)...I love this film, with Anna Lee and Boris Karloff, nice period detail and horror

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TCM does this annually every October-- they spotlight a bunch of Val Lewton horror films from the 1940s. Sometimes it is during the daytime, but this year they are giving Lewton and his films a whole evening, on October 30th.

 

Check out these great suspenseful treats:

 

CAT PEOPLE (1942)...though I prefer the follow up, CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE

THE SEVENTH VCITIM (1943)...with all its recycled sets from THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS

THE LEOPARD MAN (1943)...Dennis O'Keefe like you've never seen him

THE GHOST SHIP (1943)...very underrated, it was Richard Dix's last film at RKO

THE BODY SNATCHER (1945)...Boris Karloff, and one of Robert Wise's first films as director

ISLE OF THE DEAD (1945)...very spooky, critic James Agee praised Frances Dee's performance

BEDLAM (1946)...I love this film, with Anna Lee and Boris Karloff, nice period detail and horror

One Halloweeny when TCM was running these films, my cable went out and was out nearly the whole weekend. I bought the DVD set after that. But I'll still tune into TCM for this.

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One Halloweeny when TCM was running these films, my cable went out and was out nearly the whole weekend. I bought the DVD set after that. But I'll still tune into TCM for this.

If I am not mistaken, the DVD set has a documentary that Martin Scorsese produced about Lewton. Yes? It's aired a few times on TCM, and it's very insightful.

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Yes.

 

According to wiki, Martin Scorsese Presents: Val Lewton - The Man in the Shadows was produced in 2007 (probably to coincide with the release of the boxed set). 

 

Besides CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE these other Lewton-at-RKO titles are not being aired at this time: MADEMOISELLE FIFI (a period drama) and YOUTH RUNS WILD (a film about juvenile delinquency).

 

Also, Lewton produced MY OWN TRUE LOVE (a melodrama at Paramount); PLEASE BELIEVE ME (an MGM rom-com); and APACHE DRUMS (a western for Universal which hit screens a month after Lewton's death at age 46). I don't think Scorsese's documentary talks much about the later three movies, since the focus is more on his horror output at RKO.

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  • 9 months later...

Yes, Natalie-- supposedly Nazimova inspired some of the stories he chose to do at RKO. She was experiencing a resurgence as a character actress in the early to mid-40s. It's a shame she didn't appear in one of his movies.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, Natalie-- supposedly Nazimova inspired some of the stories he chose to do at RKO. She was experiencing a resurgence as a character actress in the early to mid-40s. It's a shame she didn't appear in one of his movies.

Its so interesting to me that Alla was not only Val Lewton's Aunt, she was Nancy Reagan's godmother. It would've been so cool if she was in one of Val's movies, even cooler if they filmed a few scenes at the "Garden of Alla"

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Its so interesting to me that Alla was not only Val Lewton's Aunt, she was Nancy Reagan's godmother. It would've been so cool if she was in one of Val's movies, even cooler if they filmed a few scenes at the "Garden of Alla"

 

I did not know she was Nancy's godmother. Now that's an interesting bit of trivia. :)

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  • 1 year later...

Tonight on TCM:

screen-shot-2017-10-10-at-7-54-17-am.png

 

CAT PEOPLE with Simone Simon

THE BODY SNATCHER with Boris Karloff

VAL LEWTON: THE MAN IN THE SHADOWS with Martin Scorsese

I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE with Frances Dee

THE SEVENTH VICTIM with Kim Hunter

BEDLAM with Anna Lee

THE LEOPARD MAN with Dennis O’Keefe

THE GHOST SHIP with Richard Dix

ISLE OF THE DEAD with Ellen Drew

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Tonight on TCM:

screen-shot-2017-10-10-at-7-54-17-am.png

 

CAT PEOPLE with Simone Simon

THE BODY SNATCHER with Boris Karloff

VAL LEWTON: THE MAN IN THE SHADOWS with Martin Scorsese

I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE with Frances Dee

THE SEVENTH VICTIM with Kim Hunter

BEDLAM with Anna Lee

THE LEOPARD MAN with Dennis O’Keefe

THE GHOST SHIP with Richard Dix

ISLE OF THE DEAD with Ellen Drew

I think the documentary is a bit pretentious- but the films are timeless masterpieces of terror

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I think the documentary is a bit pretentious- but the films are timeless masterpieces of terror

 

I didn't mind the documentary when I saw it. It's a tribute to Lewton and Scorsese is obviously a fan.

 

Yes, the films are true classics. More implied terror and suspense than actual horror, but good nonetheless.

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I didn't mind the documentary when I saw it. It's a tribute to Lewton and Scorsese is obviously a fan.

 

Yes, the films are true classics. More implied terror and suspense than actual horror, but good nonetheless.

 

I really enjoy most Lewton produced films became I don't find them to be campy.     This is why I also like the original Frankenstein and The Wolf Man (the best,  most non-campy, Universal horror films IMO).     I.e. 'actual horror' is borderline camp by definition.  

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I really enjoy most Lewton produced films became I don't find them to be campy.     This is why I also like the original Frankenstein and The Wolf Man (the best,  most non-campy, Universal horror films IMO).     I.e. 'actual horror' is borderline camp by definition.  

There is nothing "campy" about Lewton's film. There is real sense of dread which lurk in the shadows.

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I really enjoy most Lewton produced films became I don't find them to be campy.     This is why I also like the original Frankenstein and The Wolf Man (the best,  most non-campy, Universal horror films IMO).     I.e. 'actual horror' is borderline camp by definition.  

 

It's a shame most of these films get trotted out just once a year. The Kim Hunter title probably turns up more often, because when they do birthday tributes for her, or have a night of Kim Hunter essentials, she has such a relatively short filmography they usually include THE SEVENTH VICTIM.

 

I think my favourite of the Lewtons is the one with Richard Dix (THE GHOST SHIP) and I also like BEDLAM, because it's a departure to see sweet demure Anna Lee in a horror film.

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It's a shame most of these films get trotted out just once a year. The Kim Hunter title probably turns up more often, because when they do birthday tributes for her, or have a night of Kim Hunter essentials, she has such a relatively short filmography they usually include THE SEVENTH VICTIM.

 

I think my favourite of the Lewtons is the one with Richard Dix (THE GHOST SHIP) and I also like BEDLAM, because it's a departure to see sweet demure Anna Lee in a horror film.

" The Ghost Ship" is a very strange film

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  • 2 weeks later...

The last two Val Lewton productions I saw were I Walked with a Zombie and The Leopard Man.  Both films had great sets and photography.  They functioned more as psychological horror, which engages the imagination.

"The Leopard Man" is another strange film it's starts one way but then takes a turn for the bizarre.  And you are right Lewton's film are less about horror that about psychological terror

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