Complicated Shadows: The Films of Val Lewton

1/22/10 to 2/13/10

Val Lewton was that rare creature in Hollywood, the producer with a genuine artistic vision. We feature ten of Lewton's 1940s cheapies, as rich in shadowy atmosphere and psychic unease as they were financially impoverished.

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  • I Walked with a Zombie, January 30

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  • The Ghost Ship

    • Saturday, February 13 7:00 pm

    Mark Robson (U.S., 1943). Mysterious deaths aboard ship cause a young officer to reassess the motives of captain Richard Dix in this haunting, beautifully crafted thriller. (69 mins)

  • Bedlam

    • Saturday, February 13 8:30 pm

    Mark Robson (U.S., 1946). Inspired by a Hogarth painting, this almost absurdly literate film set in eighteenth-century London sends witty, worldly Anna Lee to hell-a.k.a. the Bedlam lunatic asylum, presided over by Boris Karloff. (79 mins)

  • The Body Snatcher

    • Thursday, February 11 7:00 pm

    Robert Wise (U.S., 1945). Boris Karloff brings lugubrious wit to the role of a corpsemonger in this tale of murder and medical ethics in nineteenth-century Edinburgh. (78 mins)

  • Isle of the Dead

    • Thursday, February 11 8:40 pm

    Mark Robson (U.S., 1945). A Greek cemetery island is struck by a plague-or is it the Vorvalakas, ancient spirits that drain humans of life? Karloff stars in a tale of reason, superstition, and what lies between. (71 mins)

  • The Curse of the Cat People

    • Friday, February 5 7:00 pm

    Gunther V. Fritsch, Robert Wise (U.S., 1944). Not a horror movie, unless you count the horrors of loneliness and misunderstanding, this “sequel” to Cat People is a beautiful and sensitive portrait of childhood fantasy. (70 mins)

  • The Leopard Man

    • Friday, February 5 8:30 pm

    Jacques Tourneur (U.S., 1943). Something deadly prowls the desert arroyos and shadowed sidewalks of a New Mexico town in “one of the most remarkable B films ever to have come out of Hollywood.”-Chicago Reader. (66 mins)

  • Youth Runs Wild

    • Saturday, January 30 9:10 pm

    Mark Robson (U.S., 1944). When kids turn bad, who's to blame? This rare Lewton venture into social realism offers an intriguing view of the WWII home front along with the melodramatic thrills of a J.D. exploitation flick. (67 mins)

  • I Walked with a Zombie

    • Saturday, January 30 7:40 pm

    Jacques Tourneur (U.S., 1943). Voodoo and family-centered psychodrama combine with surreal ease in a mesmerizing, atmospheric film that transposes elements of the Jane Eyre plot to Haiti. (69 mins)

  • Cat People

    • Friday, January 22 7:00 pm

    Jacques Tourneur (U.S., 1942). Simone Simon fears that a lover's kiss will unleash an ancient curse in the first and still the definitive Lewton/Tourneur chiller, a masterwork of shadowy suggestion. (73 mins)

  • The Seventh Victim

    • Friday, January 22 8:40 pm

    Mark Robson (U.S., 1943). Kim Hunter crosses paths with a cult of ever-so-civilized Satanists in boho Greenwich Village. Lewton's vision of New York “exudes a distilled poetry of doom.”-Chicago Reader. (71 mins)