Another gem from Lewton, and a pure expression of the idea that mysticism/spirituality is more reliable than science/reason, which is bad for politics but good for horror movies. It's a weird kind of B-movie prestige picture, its plot wonky and its period setting never convincing, but elevated by an actor as, er, committed as Karloff and by all the weird little moral and philosophical details it folds into itself.
Though not altogether a horror film but more, like Freaks, a Gothic tale of the unfortunate. The dialogue is rich, dense and elegant. What becomes most interesting is it's moral anchor, the redemptive Quaker worldview is pitted against a self-interested almost nihilist view. Though perhaps a bit preachy it is instead a profound parable of finding value in societies' undesirables.
Great B movie and another solid film in Lewton's canon. Deals with subject Hollywood rarely touched upon. The Snake Pit is the only other film to deal with mental illness from the period that I can think of. That film is a top notch production and an undeniable classic. This one is a minor classic, given the shoestring budget, but the great actors like Karloff elevate it considerably. It ain't Cat People, but good.
The near perfect B movie : a theme that major studios won't handle for fear of indisposing the saturday night common audience, a cult movie star like Boris Karloff who will not disappoint his fans no matter what he plays in, numerous interesting supporting roles. Highly recommended.
A handsome B-movie production from producer Val Lewton, stylishly made by director Mark Robson and cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca, is not so much a horror film as an effective gothic period drama. Boris Karloff is at his oily best, and Anna Lee plays a strong counterpoint. Maybe not quite among Lewton's masterpieces, but it has a compelling moral complexity that sets it above the usual Hollywood costume drama.