I Walked with a Zombie
Runtime: 1h 9m
Director: Jacques Tourneur
Writers: Curt Siodmak, Ardel Wray, Inez Wallace, Charlotte Brontë
Stars: Frances Dee, Tom Conway, James Ellison
“That’s nonsense, Alma.”
“They even kill nonsense, Miss Betsy.”
Initial: I was two-thirds through another “I” movie which involved girls imperiled by stereotypical villains when I decided to switch gears and watch something that at least *looked* good.
Production Notes: Jacques Tourneur also worked with producer Val Lewton on Cat People (1942).
What Did I Think:
I thought I had seen this movie before, but I’m not sure I had. Or if I had, it was in the early days of internet streaming when screen sizes were small and resolution was low. This is a beautifully shot movie. You’d think that maybe you’d get tired of seeing scenes cut through by the shadows of blinds or tree branches, but you really don’t. Tourneur’s use of light and darkness is superb.
I won’t vouch for its portrayal of “voodoo.” The movie is a mash up of a nonfiction article by journalist Inez Wallace and Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Make of that what you will. There is a level of exoticism to I Walked with a Zombie, but also more respect for vodou practices than I expected (okay, my bar was low).
Is it scary? No. But neither was the 2018 “horror” movie I quit to watch this instead. Don’t get me wrong: every era and genre has good movies and every era and genre has trash. If I watched enough movies from the 40s, I’m sure their over-used tropes would get on my nerves too.