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Val Lewton article

 
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David
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Location: New York, NY

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 7:46 pm    Post subject: Val Lewton article Reply with quote

Great article about Lewton's rise and fall. Finally had a chance to catch The Seventh Victim a few days ago - not his best but good nonetheless.

http://greenbriarpictureshows.blogspot.com/2007/07/thinking-mans-exploitation-shockers.html
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charlie
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Joined: 05 Jan 2006
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Location: New York, NY

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 10:03 pm    Post subject: RE: Val Lewton Reply with quote

Thanks for the article Dave. I picked up the Val Lewton box set when it came out about a year ago, watched a few which failed to make much of an impression, and have been dragging my heels on the rest a bit, though I did randomly watch Lewton's Bedlam over the weekend.

RE: BEDLAM

Boris Karloff is always great, but I wouldn't really call it a horror movie. By today's standards, we of course stand back aghast at the early treatment of the psych patients, and that's most of the story here, but not much to chew on. Karloff's character is neither overwhelming maniacal or particularly sympathetic, so he just floats in between. Interesting to compare this to the superior Corridors of Blood (recently released by Criterion), which also starred Boris Karloff, this time as a surgeon determined to be able to operate without the patients feeling pain -- back when it was ridiculous to think such a thing. Here, again, the audience benefits from modern sensibilities, but we get to cheer with Karloff and sympathize with him, perhaps akin to the female lead in Bedlam. Far more interesting!
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David
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not in love with most of the Lewton work, though I do admire it, but Cat People is an exception. I think Cat People lives up to its classic reputation 100%. The scene in the restaurant with the Serbian lady and the scenes with the friend walking by the park and swimming are masterful.
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charlie
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:32 pm    Post subject: I actually watched Cat People last night Reply with quote

After reading that article you linked to I went home last night and watched Cat People for the first time and then signed in here to write that I actually liked it a lot, but I see you've beaten me to the punch! Smile

Cat People was much better than Bedlam or the others I've seen by him. And it seems to take advantage of his inclination to explain things away with psychology. (warning: spoiler ahead) In most b-movies I would assume without a second beat that she was in fact a "cat woman", but knowing Lewton's other films, it created a genuine issue of suspense whether at one point late in the movie it would explain away the whole thing as a psychosis of some kind (especially when we see that she has the key to open the zoo cages, I half-suspected the ending to say the cat (a cougar?) we'd seen running around was one she'd released from the zoo. And here we have an actual "horror" plot, albeit a very mild one. But it's enough to go on, so that the love triangle subplot works fine in a supporting role.

I see that the key cast members all returned for Curse of the Cat People, is that worth checking out?

charlie
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charlie
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:35 pm    Post subject: PS: that theater entrance is nuts Reply with quote

Oh, and I forgot to mention that one of the real reasons I needed to see Cat People based on the article was because of the insane pictures they have of the box office!!! What I wouldn't do to have the RKO alive and well in NYC today.....

That said, it must have raised the horror expectations significantly, and I suspect I may have been expecting a higher monster quotient if I'd gone through that lobby to see the film. I'd have wanted an explanation of where the Cat People came from and what they wanted and how many of them there were, along the lines of a full-on sci-fi invasion story. Luckily the dvd was far more modest. Smile
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David
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curse of the Cat People is good, but very, very different. It's more a haunting ghost story about childhood.
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