One dark summer night, Francesca Cunningham, a once world famed pianist, escapes from her hospital room and tries to commit suicide by jumping off a local bridge. She is rescued and taken ... See full summary »
One dark summer night, Francesca Cunningham, a once world famed pianist, escapes from her hospital room and tries to commit suicide by jumping off a local bridge. She is rescued and taken back to the hospital and undergoes psychological treatment by Dr. Larsen. Larsen, desperately wants to know the events and persons who drove her to this state and help her. He makes Francesca talk about her past - a past with a controlling guardian, Nicholas, no friends, kept apart from the man she loved and forced to practice the piano 5-6 hours a day. Written by
Came 10th in the UK's Ultimate Film, in which films were placed in order of how many seats they sold at cinemas See more »
Francesca is about to make her continental debut and her former school friend Susan visits before the concert. When Nicholas enters the dressing room, Susan is heard speaking while her reflection can be seen in a mirror behind Francesca (her spoken words aren't synchronized with her reflected image). See more »
Another Pygmalion story about a concert pianist and her cruel guardian...
British films were beginning to attract more attention from American audiences by the time THE SEVENTH VEIL appeared on U.S. screens, and audiences took to JAMES MASON as the overly possessive guardian of ANN TODD, even though the character he played had some very unpleasant traits--such as using his cane on the woman's fingers when a burst of temper had him out of control. It's the odd love/hate relationship between Mason and Todd that carries the film.
Unfortunately, it carries it into the realm of theatricality when the relationship is shown at its most troubled stages. The film begins with the young woman attempting suicide from a bridge, and then the film becomes a study in psychological terms about the reason for her aversion to the piano with flashbacks serving as the means to unravel the cause of her illness.
Some of it is very effective and certainly it's the reason JAMES MASON was discovered by Hollywood--but it has to be viewed in the context of the time when psychology was being explored by both British and Hollywood filmmakers and audiences apparently embraced such stories.
Mason's effectiveness in what could have been a highly unsympathetic role is what makes the film superior. Todd, while excellent at appearing to be a concert pianist, is less successful as a dramatic actress. A stronger performer in her role might have made the film more convincing than it is--particularly in making the sappy ending more convincing. It appears to have been tacked on solely to please audiences rather than being a truthful outcome to a story involving such strong-willed characters.
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