The Seventh Sufferer (1943)

 

Director: Mark Robson

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By Roderick Heath

Not the preferred or well-known of Val Lewton’s epochal collection of low-budget horror movies made for RKO Studios, The Seventh Sufferer is the deepest, probably the most authentic, maybe the darkest, a movie that tends to weave a strong spell on those that tune into its peculiar wavelength.

The fourth movie in Lewton’s horror cycle, it was the directorial debut of Mark Robson, who, like Robert Sensible, had labored as an editor at RKO. He was promoted after Lewton’s first director collaborator Jacques Tourneur graduated to bigger-budget productions, and who would go on to an extended profession with many robust movies in addition to some shamefully shoddy late profession labours that bespoke merciless truths concerning the decline of the studio system and the abilities it fostered.

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Tourneur’s movies with Lewton had clearly mirrored each males’s standing as immigrants, fascinated and alienated by the American panorama. Robson and Sensible have been extra parochially alert, and facilitated a shift in focus in Lewton’s collection to overseas and historic settings, the place the same sense of unfamiliarity may very well be sustained.

The Seventh Sufferer regarded again to the preliminary success of Lewton’s collection, Cat Individuals (1942), and to silent melodramas that had blended points of realism with fable-like storytelling precepts, like Victor Sjöstrom’s The Phantom Carriage (1920) and D.W. Griffith’s The Sorrows of Devil (1922), while additionally trying ahead to many movies, and certainly genres that didn’t but exist. Jacques Rivette would try to recapture its environment with a number of movies, notably Duelle (1976). Alfred Hitchcock might have remembered it in probably the most well-known scene of Psycho (1960).

Roman Polanski would have interaction its concepts for Rosemary’s Child (1968). Dario Argento channelled it for Inferno (1980). Stanley Kubrick would partly remake it as Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Hints of its affect are detectable in city horror tales of Abel Ferrara, Martin Scorsese, and Brian De Palma.

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One cause for this sluggish but indelible impact of The Seventh Sufferer was that it adopted Cat Individuals in proving a horror movie may very well be set in a very up to date city panorama, reworked right into a world of dreamlike vignettes and personal netherworlds, and in contrast to its precursor was in a position to take action with none trace of the supernatural, presenting a state of affairs the place human folly creates horror.

Robson’s directing wasn’t as easily fluid and complicated as Tourneur’s had been, however to a sure extent his neophyte coolness helps exacerbate the sequestered temper. Like all of Lewton’s productions, the title got here down from RKO honchos. However the erstwhile Ukrainian aesthete, who had immigrated to the US within the firm of his aunt, the silent tragedienne Alla Nazimova, took an energetic curiosity in each degree of his creations, as Lewton excelled his former employer David Selznick in fulfilling the best of producer as auteur. Lewton’s strategy had a twofold strangeness stemming from linked urges, as he tried to set his dramas in a demonstrably actual world, but in addition psychologised his narratives, and pared them again to easy, nearly fairy tale-like precepts, an strategy which Lewton would take to an apogee with the subsequent movie, Curse of the Cat Individuals (1944), which bypasses horror altogether despite the title, and turns into as a substitute a gothic-edged kids’s movie.

Lewton’s fondness for deliberate naïveté can be obvious in The Seventh Sufferer, which tells the story of younger Mary Gibson (Kim Hunter, in her first position) and her coming of age while on a Snow White-like journey within the concrete forests of Manhattan. The movie kicks off with a quote from John Donne, a quote so appropriate it serves nearly because the mission assertion of the horror style: “I runne to loss of life, and loss of life meets me as quick, and all my pleasures are like yesterday.”

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Like many fairy tales, this one begins with an exile from dwelling, albeit a spot that’s not likely a house. The 2 Gibson sisters, Mary and older sibling Jacqueline (Jean Brooks) are orphans. Jacqueline has earned a dwelling while Mary has grown in a woman’s boarding college.

Referred to as earlier than the principal Mrs. Lowood (Ottola Nesmith) and her aide Miss Gilchrist (Eve March), she is advised that her sister has been out of contact, and her tuition hasn’t been paid for six months. Mary is obtainable a submit on the college, however Gilchrist encourages her to make a break: “It takes braveness to essentially stay on this planet,” she says, each as imploration and warning.

The narrative’s use of staircases as symbology is obvious within the first shot, displaying the principle staircase within the college, with religious-themed stained glass home windows above it, as Mary ascends by a throng of different college students, an intimation of Mary’s standing as an nearly holy harmless about to swim in opposition to a tide of human decay.

Her departure from the college is likely one of the temporary but indelible, nearly magical Lewton moments, as she smiles each sadly and wryly to herself, descending the steps this time, in listening to the scholars within the lecture rooms being chided and reciting Latin conjugations and Romantic poetry. Mary’s tour to New York sees her are available in contact with a peculiar sprawl of vividly contrasted personalities, most of whom are engaged in duels with their very own mortality and looking for which means in existence.

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Mary learns Jacqueline has offered her profitable cosmetics enterprise, La Sagesse, to her former assistant Mrs Esther Redi (Mary Newton), and appears to have vanished. Mary begins following a breadcrumb path, firstly a clue offered by one in every of La Sagesse’s staff, Frances Fallon (Isabel Jewell), who leads her to a boarding home run by the Italian immigrant couple, the Romaris (Chef Milani and Marguerita Sylva), above their restaurant in Greenwich Village, the place Jacqueline has rented a room that proves to comprise an ominous array: a noose suspended above a chair, ready for somebody to take their place on the finish of the rope.

Such disturbing discoveries level Mary to the morgue in the hunt for her sister, and this leads her to a different particular person in search of out Jacqueline, Gregory Ward (Hugh Beaumont). A outstanding lawyer, Gregory says that he loves Jacqueline, however retains his marriage to her secret from Mary. Such secrets and techniques teem within the state of affairs Mary finds herself in, as she quickly learns the character of maturity appears to be ever-metastasising confusion.

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This Snow White positive aspects a single dwarf as helpmate, diminutive non-public eye Irving August (Lou Lubin), who’s taken along with her susceptible desperation. When he’s warned off the case by a bigwig, August’s curiosity solely intensifies, and after trying out La Sagesse, tells Mary that there’s a mysterious locked room within the manufacturing unit the place Jacqueline is likely to be held prisoner. Mary and August steal into La Sagesse, whereupon each freeze up when confronted with the lengthy, darkish, ominous hall all the way down to the key room.

Mary can’t work up the desire, and as a substitute encourages the timorous August to go in her stead. August lastly does disappear into the darkish, then reappears, transferring unusually and silently, not answering Mary’s appeals, till he drops lifeless on the ground, bleeding from a wound in his chest.

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This terrifically eerie sequence, with the images (by Nicholas Musuraca) and lighting turning humdrum manufacturing unit house right into a nebulous zone of existential hazard and infernal menace, is likely one of the nice moments within the Lewton canon. It additionally offers an fascinating distinction to the well-known pool scene in Cat Individuals, which it sustains the same idea and temper to, insofar as that it pays off with precise violence slightly than mere self-induced fright.

Besides that, fittingly for the movie’s themes, August’s loss of life later proves to not have been a malicious killing however one brought on by worry, worry of the darkish and the quiet simply as beset the interloping pair. The best way Mary encourages August to enterprise forth into the darkish in her stead reveals the diploma to which Mary remains to be a baby, getting the grownup to go the place she daren’t, while the pair of them additionally resembling a few youngsters standing exterior a haunted home daring each-other to go in. However Mary’s has rising capability as an grownup to steer, a capability to make one other do one thing that has an unexpectedly ugly consequence due to her weak point.

This resonates curiously with the Lewton movies on both facet of this one, with the ponderings of the character of free will in The Leopard Man, and the extra pressing contemplation of a need to impose will with fascist overtones in The Ghost Ship (1943) and Isle of the Dead (1945): certainly within the Lewton cycle this tendency is taken into account a real evil. Later within the movie group will is exerted on a person for damaging ends.

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Mary loses her innocence right here, and is shipped operating out into the evening. Driving the subway backwards and forwards in a daze, she’s startled to see two society swells propping up a 3rd who appears handed out drunk, besides that the third’s hat tumbles off and she or he recognises August. Mary chases down a transit cop, however the duo slip off with their cost, making all of it look like some nocturnal imagining.

The temper of this scene, with the clamour of the prepare, sharply contrasts the pellucid silence of the manufacturing unit scene, and but compliments it, presenting one other perversely claustrophobic, alienating city atmosphere. I can’t consider one other scene prefer it in movie earlier than it, besides maybe in a Hitchcock movie like Blackmail (1929), however it actually anticipates in acute methods the fascination with New York’s fecund, deteriorating infrastructure in ‘70s cinema as a wonderland for evoking nervousness, and particularly a sequence just like the one wherein Nancy Allen dodges a killer on the subway in Dressed to Kill (1980).

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One of many Lewton collection’ singular qualities was this manner the filmmakers have been in a position to flip restricted sources and set-bound productions into exactly atmospheric invocations of place. Simply as The Leopard Man (1943) captures the temper of a city on the perimeter of the wild, The Seventh Sufferer follows Cat Individuals in tangibly recreating the sensation of a giant metropolis within the hours when its streets would possibly as properly be wilderness.

That canard of “eight million tales within the bare metropolis” is recommended in Mary’s go to to Lacking Individuals, a easy monitoring shot absorbing an array of equally befuddled by the benefit with which it’s attainable to get misplaced in a giant metropolis, at the same time as August tries to reassure Mary that it’s solely “9 miles lengthy and three miles broad.” Essentially the most overt poetic invocation in The Seventh Sufferer comes from an precise poet character, Jason Hoag (Erford Gage), in whose thoughts a searchlight above the Manhattan rooftops turns into “Cyrano’s sword,” slicing by “the blue cloak of a prince.” Jason invokes Cyrano de Bergerac, Byron, and is glimpsed at one level sitting “on the foot of Dante,” that’s, below a mural within the Romaris’ restaurant below the boarding home, named for the poet. For the jocular Mrs Romari, all mental and emotionally advanced propositions are humour. “Do you really need to discover your sister?” Jason asks Mary, who catches his eye when she first arrives on the Romaris. Mrs Romari laughs at him, however Jason’s sense that monitoring down Jacqueline would possibly contain soul-rending harm proves prescient.

The light, Hart Crane-ish poet, who’s haunted by a romantic tragedy that killed his burgeoning profession, begins discovering his method again to performance as he’s stirred to motion on Mary’s behalf. Jason learns he’s to not be Prince Charming, however finds different issues that make an effort worthwhile.

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One other peculiarity of the Lewton collection is the style wherein it touches on metatextual floor with out fairly making it overt. Related characters and roles recur from movie to movie, while actors seem typically in curiously, intentionally contrasting elements.

As an illustration, right here the velvet-voiced Ben Bard, who had performed a stern however empathic policeman in The Leopard Man is right here the chief of a Satanic coven. The Seventh Sufferer options probably the most specific instance of this tendency, as Tom Conway reiterates his position from Cat Individuals, the psychiatrist Dr Lewis Judd. Besides that he’s not fairly the identical Judd. For one factor, the character within the different movie was mauled to loss of life. For an additional, this one isn’t as coolly amoral, even when he appears at first simply as superciliously obnoxious, phlegmatically disregarding a secretary’s pleas for assist for her alcoholic father: “Dipsomania’s…slightly sordid.” It quickly proves that each Jason and Gregory have causes to mistrust the psychiatrist, who was seen with Jacqueline and Jason’s former sweetheart years earlier than, shortly earlier than they each vanished. Echoes of Cat Individuals’s emotional quandaries are additionally obvious, the worry over lack of a cherished one to psychological instability and the abuse of privilege by a doctor.

The likelihood that Cat Individuals would possibly certainly have been a narrative written by Jason as a j’accuse screed aimed toward Judd, changing emotional harm into metaphorical terrors, is fully conceivable. It’s clear sufficient why Lewton and common screenwriting collaborators DeWitt Bodeen (who co-wrote this with Charles O’Neal) would deliver again this character: his insolent allure, given physique by Conway who was a minor marquee star, offers an interesting cynical, worldly counterpoint to the idealists and placeless drifters who populate the movie, in addition to a continuing trace of sexual evil. Besides that right here the filmmakers take an opportunity to divert the result of the earlier drama, as if intentionally partaking in an act of self-reflexive revision.

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Judd first seems approaching Gregory as an obvious emissary from Jacqueline, shaking down the lawyer for cash to help her, and remaining cagily impenetrable about what precisely is occurring. He then goes to Mary, providing to deliver her to Jacqueline. He takes her to an upmarket resort, however finds that Jacqueline appears to have vanished: “She’s left me to fulfill them alone,” he murmurs in alarm, and flees, leaving a bewildered Mary to face “them” alone himself. The knock on the resort room door Mary solutions proves nevertheless to be Jacqueline, glimpsed just for a number of seconds like a fleeting mirage.

Few film characters can ever stay as much as the degrees of mystique as are constructed up about Jacqueline (notably, like Rebecca de Winter, Jacqueline is spoken of in slightly awed phrases, and recognized by totemic monogrammed results), and that makes the Brooks’ look right here all of the extra distinctive. When she’s lastly glimpsed, along with her bizarre Egyptian-flapper coiffure and haunted, moon-bright eyes, it’s just for a number of seconds: Jacqueline raises a finger to her lips, warning Mary to be quiet lest she entice any of the folks looking for her. She’s undoubtedly corporeal and appearing for actual causes, but in addition, looks like some emissary of the underworld, urging silence like an enforcer of taboo and thriller.

The movie’s obsession with doorways and staircases – main Mary to Jacqueline, Judd wryly feedback, when introduced with two staircases as much as the subsequent ground, that he prefers the “left or sinister facet” – as passages between worlds accords with Jean Cocteau’s use of mirrors in his intensely comparable Orphée (1949).

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Finally the reality of Jacqueline’s state of affairs begins to emerge: by Mrs Redi she grew to become concerned in a gaggle of Devil worshippers often called the Palladists (based mostly on a French society of Satanists rumoured to have practised within the 1800s), and since she advised her therapist Judd about them, they’ve declared she should die.

The Palladists are hardly nevertheless a stunning cult, however a collective that runs the gamut of bohemian oddballs, bored socialites, saturnine malcontents, homosexuals, and the bodily broken. They provide a face each to the overwhelming nervousness manifesting within the darkness that crowds the perimeters of the movie, and in addition endure from it themselves, and have adopted one methodology of making an attempt to really feel they grasp life and loss of life. Judd and Jason even transfer in the identical social circles because the Palladists, amongst whom Redi, Mr. Brun (Bard) and one-armed hostess Natalie Cortez (Evelyn Brent) appear to be the senior members. Jason is canny sufficient to deliver Mary and Gregory inside shut proximity of the coven on a hunch. Judd looks like a really perfect Palladist, however he slightly stands distinct from them, too clever to fall for his or her folderol, too inquisitive about their strangeness to disregard them, and too frightened of what they could do if provoked.

Brun expostulates at size the peculiar dichotomy on the coronary heart of the society’s sensibility, its insistence that anybody that breaks its oath of secrecy should die, but in addition its pledge to non-violence. The one reputable method they will, then, punish Jacqueline for her transgressions is to pressure her to commit suicide, however failing that, a number of members are keen to go additional, not as a result of Jacqueline broke their guidelines however as a result of she might probably expose and embarrass them.

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The notion that Jacqueline joined the group for erotic in addition to emotional and non secular stimulation percolates beneath the floor as you’d count on from a 1943 movie and but nudges me continuously, obvious in Frances’ suggestive worship and unconcealed love for Jacqueline (“The one time I used to be ever completely satisfied was once I was with you!”). Redi’s husky-voiced ambiguity can be telegraphed, giving a very piquant cost to a scene wherein Redi enters Mary’s house to warn her off the seek for Jacqueline.

Mary is caught bare and dripping moist within the bathe, with Redi’s silhouetted type glimpsed by the curtain. The prefiguring of Psycho right here is unmistakable, though much less violent, the notice of erotic menace much less quick than a giant knife however no much less unsettling for the naïve and susceptible lady. Redi makes a mistake, nevertheless, by doing this, as a result of she informs Mary that Jacqueline was in truth the prisoner within the secret room, and she or he killed August in fright. This truth provides Jason the inspiration to lastly stress Judd, who’s been hiding Jacqueline since she escaped that evening, into letting him, Mary, and Gregory take her into their care.

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Jason’s monitoring of Judd by a skeletal studio model of the Village presents stark, lunar-surface alleyways and blankly silhouetted, shadow-play home windows, islets of heat between oceans of darkish. When Judd lastly does lead the trio of searchers to Jacqueline’s door, she proves to have now lodged in some mysterious abode, descending right into a deep focus body with peculiarly numinous impact, her ready cohort of would-be associates and protectors gathered within the foreground. Lewton’s movies have been often too starkly budgeted to supply the sort of outsized Expressionistic results present in Fritz Lang and F.W. Murnau’s early work or in Rowland V. Lee’s delirious Son of Frankenstein (1939) with their fastidiously contrived and constructed video games with house and structure as mimetic canvas, and in addition to Lewton was often after one thing a contact subtler.

Right here Robson captures one thing nearer to the French 1930s template of “poetic realism,” the place extra sensible environments have been fastidiously manipulated to create expressive settings, right here managed on the back-lot units with an nearly theatrical minimalism. Robson was following on from Tourneur’s work, and pointing the way in which ahead to the same combine probably the most visually vivid noir movies would sport inside a number of years. Most of the personnel who labored with Lewton, together with Robson, had certainly labored on Orson Welles’ pricey however deeply influential works on the studio, and certainly in some ways Lewton and staff discovered sensible functions for a lot that Welles had helped evolve.

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Jacqueline’s “return to life” nevertheless proves disorientating: taken to Jason’s studio, she recounts August’s killing in a spellbinding second, with Robson monitoring his digicam in slowly to her wan and haunted face, after which lastly her eyes, a shot that summarises, for me, the essence of Lewton’s achievement and maybe certainly the style. The place earlier than she had ministered silence to carry the abyss at bay, now she confesses with phrases however these eyes say extra about abysses she’s seen into.

As tawdry because the Palladists are, the terrors they’ve evoked for Jacqueline after a lifetime of frantically in search of sensual expertise have pushed her to the sting of sanity, of liminal consciousness, which along with her morbidly fixated nature she feels experiences with all of the acuity of a Dostoevsky character. On the identical time, Jason, realising his romantic hopes are fading as Mary is gravitating extra to Gregory’s paternal allure, tries to trace, by the use of his prolonged Cyrano metaphor, to Jacqueline that her husband is in love along with her sister. A dance of attraction has been in movement behind the scenes, between the fastidiously calibrated varieties: Gregory as upholder of order, Jason as protean creator, Judd as guardian of the psyche and healer, with Mary and Jacqueline, objects of their affections, as mirroring siblings, who embody Songs of Innocence and Songs of Expertise, in William Blake’s parlance.

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The dance ends unsatisfyingly on one degree: it’s exhausting to imagine Mary would fall for Gregory, if solely as a result of, like too lots of Lewton’s heroes, he’s performed by one in every of RKO’s traditional, deathly boring main males, on this trigger Beaumont, who would later discover his position comfortably numbing us all because the patriarch of Depart it to Beaver. It does make sense on a psychological degree, as Gregory has introduced to each Gibson ladies the best of the settled, paternal male, and thru him an phantasm of familial solidity.

Jason, denied the lady, is rewarded with renewed creativity and in addition in discovering his accord with Judd, who proves to truly have been a benefactor, defending Jacqueline and Jason from hurt by life’s crueller information. When he explains that Jason’s long-ago sweetheart, the one he noticed Judd with, is now irretrievably insane, “a horrible, raving factor,” he recognises that Judd has been his pal all alongside. Judd’s personal admissions to jealousy of Jason’s accomplishment along with his first e-book provides strategy to his scepticism over his new work: “the time is out of tune,” he says, for such a romantic artist in a bleaker time.

This contact displays the peculiar standing of Lewton’s movies, their mix of darkness and lightweight, homey emotionalism so nimble however frail in distinction to overwhelming evil, which marked the producer’s sensibility misplaced in ruder atmosphere of Hollywood, and but got here nearer than nearly anybody else to recording the psychological undertone of his period: The Seventh Sufferer, in spite of everything, was made within the midst of World Battle 2, and if any epoch might shake an individual’s religion in widespread humanity and but additionally supply many proofs for it, that was the one.

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As Tourneur and Sensible went on to make some definitive movies noir, Robson’s totally different contact would turn into clearer as he would make some wonderful works located slightly on the nexus of noir with city drama and social realism, like Champion (1949) and The Tougher They Fall (1956), while fervently emotional melodramas amongst like Peyton Place (1957), From the Terrace (1960), and Valley of the Dolls (1967), coherently lengthen the female-centric sensibility he might undertake, obvious right here and in his follow-ups for Lewton, Isle of the Lifeless and Bedlam (1946).

Like Sensible, Robson primarily grew to become an all-round artisan who may very well be relied upon by the studios at the same time as they floundered: it’s exhausting to think about a movie extra diametrically against the fragile horrors of this movie than Earthquake (1974), Robson’s second-last work. The melancholy impact of The Seventh Sufferer is powerful and real, particularly contemplating that Lewton had used it to specific his personal mortal nervousness: he would die aged 46, while Gage could be killed in fight within the Philippines a yr after the movie was shot, and Brooks would die younger from alcoholism.

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It’s outstanding, contemplating how dense and suggestive the narrative of The Seventh Sufferer is, that the movie solely runs a fraction over 70 minutes. The sense of compression is leavened barely by the bogus impact of Mary and Gregory’s romance, though their couple’s final scene collectively, as Gregory asks Mary not to take a look at him as he each declares his passion but in addition states his intent to disclaim it for Jacqueline’s sake, is delicately pretty and solely wants a extra convincing context. Judd and Jason’s rebuke to the Palladists awkwardly approaches a notice of standard-issue piety Lewton often artfully prevented.

 

However that is each extra sophisticated and easier than it appears because it bears out a constant facet of the Lewton collection, a perception that generally probably the most advanced issues are summarised greatest by the best phrases, particularly issues like human interdependence. Judd presents the Lord’s Prayer – “Forgive us our trespasses” – with a path to truly contemplate what it implies in retorting to Brun’s respect for “Satanic majesty and energy” by implying his perception is way cornier, with the implication that, to cite one other Donne poem, no man is an island, and that the Palladists, slightly than discovering unique energy, have as a substitute left themselves tragically lower off from the one issues that make life bearable.

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Aside from these stumbles, the final fifteen minutes are outstanding, as Jacqueline, introduced out from the shadows by her associates, proves to have solely been made susceptible to her enemies.

Kidnapped from Mary’s rooms, she’s saved by the Palladists in Cortez’s place, browbeaten by the gathering into consuming a cup of poison, with Robson’s framings teeming with Dutch Grasp-like faces looming out of chiaroscuro lighting, and Brooks along with her nemesis, the glass, looming earlier than her, voices of encouragement, alternately bullying, seductive, and despairing, while Jacqueline resists with cool boredom: “No, no, no…” When she lastly does increase the chalice to her lips, Frances knocks it from her arms, an act of mercy from a pal moments after Frances was hysterically imploring her to drink. Jacqueline is launched, however one in every of Palladist goons who had helped spirit August away now stalks her by the darkish streets in maybe probably the most epic of the various sequences of anxious midnight wandering within the Lewton collection. Like Mary within the subway scene, Jacqueline finds herself totally alone within the midst of the nice metropolis.

She will be able to’t attraction to the oblivious passers-by to guard her from the just about summary menace that pursues her, the stalker’s face gleaming deathly pale as he looms out of shadows, constructing to a climax when Jacqueline edges her method alongside a wall in making an attempt to flee a blind alley, solely to really feel the coat of her pursuer, mendacity in await her. A hand grasps her wrist; a knife flicks open.

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Jacqueline is simply saved by the sudden eruption of a coterie of actors from their theatre’s rear entrance: one of many male actors grabs Jacqueline up, providing to purchase her a beer and a sandwich, and spirits her to security. These folks are greater than actors; they’re like an explosion of the life essence itself, rising from doorways with the Comedy and Tragedy masks painted on.

The irreducible linkage of the 2 faces lies on the coronary heart of The Seventh Sufferer’s obsession with mortality. Jacqueline can’t observe the actors into the tavern to share their Bacchanalian love of life, wandering away as a substitute again to the Romaris’ boarding home, the place she encounters one of many different residents, who all through the movie has solely been glimpsed shuffling from one door to a different. That is Mimi, a withering, consumptive lady ready to die, performed by one other Lewton common, Elizabeth Russell.

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Simply as Russell performed the sinister overseas lady who mysteriously recognised her “sister” in Cat Individuals, right here she recognises Jacqueline as fellow misplaced soul, and states her intention to exit and have enjoyable slightly than await loss of life, in a monologue that’s each chilling and pathetic: “I’ve been so quiet, oh so quiet, I hardly transfer, but it retains coming for me on a regular basis.” The firelight from inside her room casts infernal flickering on the scene. Jacqueline’s remaining realisation that Mimi will die anyway precipitates the seemingly off-hand, but bone-chilling remaining second.

Mimi, dressed up, leaves her flat and strikes down the steps, solely distracted for a second by the odd sound of a toppling chair in Jacqueline’s room, the affirmation that Jacqueline has lastly taken her final possibility. A throwaway contact right here underlines the overtone of inevitable destiny being met: the place the Palladists had talked about that to date six deaths had been listed for the six betrayals their organisation had recorded, so Jacqueline’s house is numbered 7. The ultimate impact is tragic, and but as an entire, like all of Lewton’s movies, The Seventh Sufferer is peculiarly life-affirming: get pleasure from it when you have it.

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