Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Seventh Victim

"This short scene contains a number of the small anomalies that finally make the film such a disorienting experience and contribute to the fascination it has held for its fans (including Carol Reed and Jacques Rivette, who reportedly screened it for the cast of his movie Duelle). The headmistress is actually being kind. But her appearance and tone are sinister. We wonder in passing what she knows about 'that woman,' Mrs. Redi, and how she knows it, though we soon forget this detail as the story unwinds. Nor do we learn why Gilchrist urges Mary to leave, nor why the headmistress summons Gilchrist back with such urgency. (Neither actress appears in the film again.) Mary's affection for the grandfather clock is also unexplained."

--John Ashbery, "On Val Lewton's The Seventh Victim"

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