Martin Scorsese narrates this tribute to Val Lewton, the producer of a series of memorable low-budget horror films for RKO Studios. Raised by his mother and his aunt, his films often ... See full summary »
Martin Scorsese narrates this tribute to Val Lewton, the producer of a series of memorable low-budget horror films for RKO Studios. Raised by his mother and his aunt, his films often included strong female characters who find themselves in difficult situations and who have to grow up quickly. He is best remembered for the horror films he made at RKO starting in 1940. Starting with only a title - his first was The Cat People - he would meticulously oversee every aspect of the film's completion. Although categorized as horror films, his films never showed a monster, leaving it all to the viewers imagination, assisted by music, mood and lighting. Written by
It will make you want to watch all the movies one more time
New Documentary produced and narrated by Martin Scorsese on the life and work on the films of Val Lewton. It premiered tonight on Turner Classic Movies and has occasioned the reissue of the box set of the Lewton RKO horror films on DVD. To be honest I don't think this is really a documentary so much as its film essay on the Lewton produced films and his life. There is no nitty gritty about the making of the films (the fact that one of his films occasioned the last screen teaming of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi is not mentioned). If one wants details one has to look to the documentary that was originally released with the DVD set, Shadows in the Dark:The Val Lewton Legacy. Here Scorsese talks about the deeper meanings of the films Lewton over saw and how they affected the people who saw them.Its clear that Scorsese is in love with the poetry of the movies, and its nice to have him as a guide into their recesses, indeed watching the film I picked up a good many details that I had never noticed before. It also reveals symbols and character types that reoccur in his movies. Its an examination of how Lewton's melancholy nature produced some very dark and troubling films, films which echo to this day. I liked the film a great deal but I'm not in love with it. While I learned some new things I didn't learn enough (I think the earlier Shadows in the Dark is slightly better, but that may be purely a matter of personal taste).Its very good but there is something that keeps me from saying its great. Is it worth seeing, absolutely, it will reveal many things to you about the films that you probably never noticed. Ultimately it will make you want to see all the films again, which is a pretty good thing if you ask me
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