The Seventh Victim (1943)
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The ending is superb, completely canceling the ridiculous scene between good and evil that came beforehand.
The Seventh Victim is a thing of parts, all intriguing, but do they fit together? That's what I was struggling with for the length of the film. It's about a young woman whose sister is missing after a tangle with - as we discover - a group of Satanists. Her younger sister heads out to New York to find her, and with the help of various interesting characters, eventually does. But it does mean the protagonist's role switches from one woman to the other at some point, making the narrative uneven. The striking image of a chair and noose, alone in a rented room, is only one of many to make the the film unsettling, along with a great many noir tricks that tap into the leads' paranoia. The first half of the film is about the anxiety of finding yourself alone in a strange city, the second a thought-provoking nihilistic exploration of the cult's strictly non-violent evil. While the eerie atmosphere is unimpeachable and the script quite literate, I'm not sure The Seventh Victim is as structurally coherent as it needs to be.
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In 6 official lists
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This movie ranks #145 in TSZDT's The 1,000 Greatest Horror Films
This movie ranks #164 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #227 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
This movie ranks #285 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?
This movie ranks #391 in TSPDT's 1,000 Noir Films
This movie ranks #409 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films: 1001-2000