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I Walked with a Zombie (1943)

 -  Horror  -  30 April 1943 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 6,277 users  
Reviews: 74 user | 68 critic

A young Canadian nurse (Betsy) comes to the West Indies to care for Jessica, the wife of a plantation manager (Paul Holland). Jessica seems to be suffering from a kind of mental paralysis ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Ellison ...
Frances Dee ...
Tom Conway ...
Edith Barrett ...
James Bell ...
Dr. Maxwell
Christine Gordon ...
Jessica Holland
Theresa Harris ...
Alma - Maid (as Teresa Harris)
Sir Lancelot ...
Calypso Singer
Darby Jones ...
Carrefour
Jeni Le Gon ...
Dancer (as Jeni LeGon)
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Storyline

A young Canadian nurse (Betsy) comes to the West Indies to care for Jessica, the wife of a plantation manager (Paul Holland). Jessica seems to be suffering from a kind of mental paralysis as a result of fever. When she falls in love with Paul, Betsy determines to cure Jessica even if she needs to use a voodoo ceremony, to give Paul what she thinks he wants. Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

She's alive... yet dead! She's dead... yet alive! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 April 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Morta-Viva  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role played by Frances Dee was originally filled by Anna Lee. See more »

Quotes

Paul Holland: I want you back in Canada.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the beginning, in small letters at the bottom of the screen is this disclaimer: The characters and events depicted in this photoplay are fictional. Any similarity to any persons, living, dead, OR POSSESSED, is entirely coincidental. See more »


Soundtracks

The British Grenadiers
Music: 18th century or earlier
Lyrics anonymous
Played on guitar and Sung by Sir Lancelot
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beautiful and dreamy horror(ish) film.
27 May 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Nurse Betsy arrives in the West Indies to care for Jessica, the wife of Paul Holland. Jessica was struck down with a fever that has rendered her in a permanent state of mental paralysis. As Betsy starts to fall for Holland, she resolves to cure Jessica and get to the bottom of just what is going on in this mysterious place.

Producer Val Lewton firmly carved out a reputation for having a keen eye with a number of literary horror adaptations in the 1940s, there is certainly a case for I Walked With A Zombie being one of the best of the bunch. Tho tagged as a horror film, and boasting a title to further that inkling, I Walked With A Zombie is more in keeping with the dreamy and atmospheric romanticism of Jane Eyre. Sure the voodoo core of the film is chilling in its intent, but to really sell this as an outright horror film would do it a big disservice.

Lewton's ideals are more focused on suggestion in a psychological way, the scares more cloaked in a shadowy unease, director Jacques Tourneur perfectly in tune with his producer to unhinge the audience by way of an approaching dread we can't see. Some of Tourneur's work here is wonderful, hauntingly elegiac sequences linger long in the memory, rustling wind blows as characters are appearing to float thru sugar cane fields, the distant rumble of ceremonial drums luring them forward with mystical powers. A voodoo zombie shuffling on a mission to fetch poor Jessica from the plantation home is not horrifying, its damn near gorgeous, soft and near silent in its execution, the whole film is simply full of memorable moments.

Written by Curt Siodmak, the concept for the piece came about by way of a number of newspaper articles that were telling of voodoo and witchcraft in Haiti, the scope for a screamathon horror movie was obviously there, but thankfully in this viewers humble opinion, we get a classy and chilling film that is dripping with ethereal beauty from first reel to last. 8/10


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