Isabel Jewell

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The Seventh Victim Review


Very Good
Best known for its "pre-Psycho" shower scene, this mid-career Val Lewton horror film has Kim Hunter in search of her missing sister (Jean Brooks), who has unfortunately fallen in with a bunch of devil worshippers. (This may explain why she has a goth haircut now.) Foreboding and creepy, it's not a traditional slasher flick, and there's no gore to speak of. Rather, it's a very well-made psychological thriller (before such a term even existed) filled with good performances.

Aka The 7th Victim.

Continue reading: The Seventh Victim Review

Lost Horizon Review


Extraordinary
The weirdest film by Frank Capra, this epic was adapted from James Hilton's bestselling novel about a plane full of passengers stranded in Tibet who are brought to the imaginary utopia Shangri-la. (Hilton's sensational fantasy was inspired by mountaineering trips to the Himalayas -- pretty much unknown then -- and it probably still influences how people in the West think about Tibet.)

Lost Horizon is a strange but haunting mixture of drama, long expository passages, and romance, with lavish, Xanadu-like sets set against stock footage of icy mountains -- but the performance of Ronald Colman carries the movie. Colman's character is a Brit who decides he doesn't mind hanging with the Buddhists and enjoying the quiet life, but some of his companions are unhappy in the worker's paradise and debate whether to try to escape. Sensuality is provided by the young Jane Wyatt, later the matron on TV's Father Knows Best (Wyatt's character is even shown in a distant frontal nude scene, a wink at the Hays Code).

Continue reading: Lost Horizon Review

Lost Horizon Review


Very Good
A classic book and a classic film -- make sure you look for the full-length (132 minute) restored version, which features still photographs where there was no known print to match up to the audio. Bizarre methodology, yet strangely, it works.

The Seventh Victim Review


Very Good
Best known for its "pre-Psycho" shower scene, this mid-career Val Lewton horror film has Kim Hunter in search of her missing sister (Jean Brooks), who has unfortunately fallen in with a bunch of devil worshippers. (This may explain why she has a goth haircut now.) Foreboding and creepy, it's not a traditional slasher flick, and there's no gore to speak of. Rather, it's a very well-made psychological thriller (before such a term even existed) filled with good performances.

Aka The 7th Victim.

Continue reading: The Seventh Victim Review

Isabel Jewell

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