Friday 22 December 2023

Movie Review: The Seventh Victim (1943)

Genre: Suspense
Director: Mark Robson
Starring: Kim Hunter, Tom Conway
Running Time: 71 minutes

Synopsis: Boarding school student Mary Gibson (Kim Hunter, in her debut) arrives in New York to look for her missing sister Jacqueline (Jean Brooks). The search leads to stern beauty salon owner Esther Redi, hairdresser Gladys, private investigator Irving August, Jacqueline's lover Gregory Ward, lyrical poet Jason, psychiatrist Dr. Louis Judd (Tom Conway, reprising his role from Cat People), and an elderly couple running an Italian restaurant. Eventually, Mary stumbles upon a secret Satan-worshipping cult. 

What Works Well: The atmosphere is sometimes pleasingly spooky, and the commentary about death as a life obsession carries hints of potential.

What Does Not Work As Well: An inauspicious debut for director Mark Robson, this bizarre RKO Pictures concoction is a mishmash of awkwardly juxtaposed ideas. Overstuffed with characters acting with incomprehensible ineptitude, the DeWitt Bodeen script must have suffered harsh budget or self-censorship cuts. The wedged-in romance between a schoolgirl and a married man, the endlessly shifting perspectives, and the multitude of impossible-to-follow incarcerate-then-release actions involving Jacqueline, her allies, and enemies are almost laughable. The Satan worshippers are as threatening as an afternoon tea gathering for the elderly, with the cultists finally and firmly the Lord's prayer.

Conclusion: Viewers can be added to the victim count.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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