AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Seventh Victim
Director: Mark Robson (Dir)
Release Date:   21 Aug 1943
Production Date:   5 May--29 May 1943
Duration (in mins):   70-71
Duration (in feet):   6,385
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Cast:   Tom Conway (Dr. Louis Judd)  
    Jean Brooks (Jacqueline Gibson)  
    Isabel Jewell (Frances)  
  And introducing Kim Hunter (Mary Gibson)  
    Evelyn Brent (Natalie Cortez)  
    Erford Gage (Jason Hoag)  
    Ben Bard (Mr. Brun)  
    Hugh Beaumont (Gregory Ward)  
    Chef Milani (Mr. Romari)  
    Marguerita Sylva (Mrs. Romari)  
    Mary Newton (Mrs. Redi)  
    Wally Brown (Durk)  
    Feodor Chaliapin (Lee)  
    Jamesson Shade (Swenson)  
    Eve March (Mrs. Gilchrist)  
    Tola Nesmith (Mrs. Lowood)  
    Edythe Elliott (Mrs. Swift)  
    Milton Kibbee (Joseph)  
    Marianne Mosner (Miss Rowan)  
    Elizabeth Russell (Mimi)  
    Joan Barclay (Gladys)  
    Barbara Hale (Young lover)  
    William Halligan (Radeaux)  
    Howard Mitchell (Police officer)  
    Bud Geary (Police officer)  
    Charles Phillips (Police officer)  
    Lou Lubin (Irving August)  
    Kernan Cripps (Police officer with Mary)  
    Dewey Robinson (Conductor)  
    Lloyd Ingraham (Watchman)  
    Ann Summers (Miss Summers)  
    Tiny Jones (News vendor)  
    Adia Kuznetzoff (Ballet dancer)  
    Patsy Nash (Nancy)  
    Sarah Selby (Min Gottschalk)  
    Betty Roadman (Mrs. Wheeler)  
    Eileen O'Malley (Mother)  
    Lorna Dunn (Mother)  
    Norma Nilsson (Girl)  
    Mary Halsey    
    Wheaton Chambers    
    Ed Thomas    
    Edith Conrad    
    Patti Brill    
    Richard Davies    

Summary: Mary Gibson leaves school to go to New York and search for her missing sister Jacqueline. Upon arriving in the city, Mary visits La Sagasse, the cosmetics store owned by her sister, and learns that Jacqueline has sold the business to Mrs. Redi. Mrs. Redi claims no knowledge of Jacqueline's whereabouts, but Frances, an employee of the company, tells Mary that she recently saw her sister at a restaurant in Greenwich Village. At the restaurant, Mary meets the proprietors, Mr. and Mrs. Romari, who remember renting an upstairs room to the beautiful and mysterious Jacqueline, who never moved into the room. Mary convinces the Romaris to unlock the room, and upon opening the door, they see a noose dangling from the ceiling. Mary is consoled in her search by Jason Hoag, a failed poet, who advises her to file a report at the missing person's office. At the police station, Mary meets private investigator Irving August, who offers to find her sister for fifty dollars. When Mary finally reveals that she does not have the money, August is about to drop the case when a man warns him to forget about finding Jacqueline. Intrigued, August pulls her file. Mary, meanwhile, visits the morgue, where officials suggest she consult with attorney Gregory Ward. At his office, Gregory admits that he is in love with Jacqueline and explains that the noose is part of her fascination with death. After dining with Gregory, Mary returns to her hotel and finds August waiting for her. When August reports that he discovered a locked room at La Sagasse, Mary insists upon investigating. Mary waits in a deserted corridor in the store, while August enters the locked room. The detective soon stumbles out and collapses on the floor, the victim of a fatal stab wound. Mary races out and boards a subway train, where she later sees two men supporting August's limp body. Although Gregory remains skeptical about Mary's murder story, he finds her a job as a kindergarten teacher, and she moves into a room at the Romaris'. Soon after, Louis Judd, a psychiatrist, visits Gregory to ask him for money to support Jacqueline. When Gregory demands to see her, Judd warns him that Jacqueline is in danger of losing her sanity. Alerted to Mary's presence by Gregory, Judd offers to take her to Jacqueline's apartment, but they find it empty. Judd leaves to search for Jacqueline, who soon after, opens the apartment door, sees Mary, closes the door and disappears. Mary goes to look for her sister, and upon returning to the apartment, she is confronted by two men who identify themselves as private detectives hired by Jacqueline's husband, Gregory Ward. That night over dinner, Gregory explains that he kept his marriage a secret to protect Jacqueline. Jason then joins them at their table and promises Mary that he will find Jacqueline. Taking Mary and Gregory to a soiree at the apartment of Natalie Cortez, Jason questions Judd, one of Natalie's guests, about Jacqueline. The next day, Jason goes to the library and discovers that both Judd and Mrs. Redi had checked out a book about the Palladists, a sect of devil worshippers. Suspicious, Jason sends Mary to the cosmetics store to find out more about Mrs. Redi. At the shop, Mary questions Frances and discovers that the firm's new trademark is the Palladist diagram. Mary returns home and is showering when the shadowy figure of Mrs. Redi appears on the other side of the shower curtain. After informing Mary that Jacqueline killed August, Mrs. Redi advises her to return to school. Back at Natalie's apartment, a meeting of the Palladists has convened. Insisting that Jacqueline must die because she betrayed the society by visiting Judd, a psychiatrist, Mrs. Redi dispatches Lee and Durk, the men from the subway, to find her. Mary, taking Mrs. Redi's advice, visits Jason in his room to bid him farewell. When Mary explains that she is returning to school because her sister is a murderer, Jason, whose love for Mary has prompted him to begin writing poetry again, insists that she consult with Gregory first. When Gregory advocates that Jacqueline turn herself in to the police, Jason asks Judd to locate her. Judd brings Jacqueline to Jason's room, where she tells them that she sought help from Judd to break with the Palladists who, feeling betrayed, locked her in a room at La Sagasse. Tormented by fear and isolation, she lashed out at August with scissors when he entered her room. The next morning, Mary goes to school, where Romari phones to tell her that Jacqueline left with two men. The men take Jacqueline to Natalie's apartment, where the Palladists condemn her to death and demand that she drink a chalice filled with poison. As the hours tick by, Jacqueline's resolve ebbs and she reaches for the poison, but Frances screams and knocks the glass from her hand. After releasing Jacqueline into the night, Mrs. Redi sends an assassin after her. Escaping the assassin's knife, Jacqueline runs back to her room at the Romaris', where she meets a deranged woman in the hallway. The woman, who lives across the hall, announces that she is dying, but vows to experience life before she perishes. While Mary and Gregory await Jacqueline's return, Gregory tells Mary that he has fallen in love with her, and Mary admits that she also loves him, but could never take him away from her sister. Later that night, the deranged woman, attired in an evening gown, leaves her room, and as she passes Jacqueline's door, she hears the sound of a rope snapping. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Mark Robson (Dir)
  William Dorfman (Asst dir)
Producer: Val Lewton (Prod)
Writer: Charles O'Neal (Wrt by)
  DeWitt Bodeen (Wrt by)
Photography: Nicholas Musuraca (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino (Art dir)
  Walter E. Keller (Art dir)
Film Editor: John Lockert (Ed)
Set Decoration: Darrell Silvera (Set dec)
  Harley Miller (Set dec)
Costumes: Renie (Gowns)
Music: C. Bakaleinikoff (Mus dir)
  Roy Webb (Mus)
Sound: John C. Grubb (Rec)
Production Misc: Jacqueline de Wit (Dial supv)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 26/8/1943 dd/mm/yyyy LP12249

PCA NO: 9370
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Mystery
Sub-Genre: Psychological
 
Subjects (Major): The Devil
  Missing persons
  Religious cults
  Sisters
 
Subjects (Minor): Cosmetics industry
  Detectives
  Hanging
  Insanity
  Lawyers
  Libraries and librarians
  Marriage--Secret
  Morgues
  Murder
  New York City--Greenwich Village
  Poets
  Psychiatrists
  Restaurants
  Stabbings
  Subways
  Suicide
  Teachers
  Threats

Note: The film opens with the following lines from a sonnet by John Donne, "I runne to death, and death meets me as fast, and all my pleasures are like yesterday." HR news items yield the following information about the film's production: In Nov 1942, DeWitt Bodeen was assigned to write the screenplay. By late Feb 1943, writer Charles O'Neal was added to the project to hasten the start of the film's production. Jacques Tourneur, who had worked successfully with producer Val Lewton on three previous films, was intially slated to direct the film, but when he was re-assigned to another project, film editor Mark Robson was promoted to director and assigned to the film. The girls' seminary scene in the film was shot on the same set as RKO's 1942 picture Magnificent Ambersons (see above). The film marked actress Kim Hunter's screen debut. Although the Var review lists the character played by Hugh Beaumont as "Gregory Stone," he is called "Gregory Ward" in the film. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   28 Aug 1943.   
Daily Variety   19 Aug 43   pp. 3, 6
Film Daily   24 Aug 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Aug 42   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Nov 42   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Feb 43   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   5 May 43   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   7 May 43   p. 1, 12
Motion Picture Herald   21 Aug 1943.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   7 Aug 43   p. 1471.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   21 Aug 43   p. 1495.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   16 Oct 43   p. 1558.
New York Times   18 Sep 43   p. 11.
Variety   18 Aug 43   p. 26.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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