In Hollywood’s Golden Age, the producer was king. That’s why we remember the noir-tinged horror movie The Seventh Victim as a Val Lewton film.
Let’s dispose of the title discrepancy up front. The posters call it The 7th Victim. I’m going with the title card:
You say 7th, I say Seventh, let’s call the whole thing off before we’re victimized.
I usually refer to this film as the Greenwich Village Satanist movie. They’re a genteel group of devil devotees who foreshadow the coven in Rosemary’s Baby.
As usual, I’m using the players’ names in lieu of their character’s monikers. There are fewer parenthesis that way.
The Seventh Victim tells the tale of Kim Hunter whose glamorous older sister Jean Brooks has gone missing. Hunter embarks on a quest to find her big sister and learns that she was weirder than expected. She owned a perfume company, which she “sold” to Evelyn Brent who menaced Hunter as she showered:
It’s unknown if Alfred Hitchcock was inspired by this scene when he made Psycho.
During her peregrinations, Hunter finds out that her sister was on the outs with her fellow Greenwich Village Satanists and was married to Ward Cleaver, I mean Hugh Beaumont who was not a member of the coven.
This movie was way ahead of its time with its kind, not judgmental, inference that Jean Brooks and Isabel Jewell were more than just friends. Jewell was the only one of the Greenwich Village Satanists who cared if Jean Brooks lived or died.
Psychiatry was a hot topic in 1943 when the movie was made, so Tom Conway got first billing as a shrink. Every time he opens his mouth, he sounds like his more famous kid brother George Sanders. The brothers supposedly flipped a coin to see who would change their last name. Tom lost. They were still soundalikes.
The Seventh Victim ends on a subtle note implying that Jean Brooks took her own life as result of plot details I’m not going into. This feature is called pulp fiction, not pulp spoilers, after all.
The Seventh Victim features the debut of director Mark Robson as well as star Kim Hunter. She later won an Oscar for playing Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire. Hunter became a cult favorite as Zira in the Planet Of The Apes movies. She was a darn cute ape:
Grading Time: I give The Seventh Victim 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+
It’s poster time. We’re going quad this week:
I need a drink after all that Satanist crapola. I hope someone brought some Bourbon to spike the Coke with.
Here are two more color lobby cards for a black and white movie to add to our collection:
That was colorful. The trailer is not:
The last word goes to Eddie Muller: