This economically constructed and haunting chiller (1943, 66 min.) from the inspired team of producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur doesn’t have the reputation of the two other films they worked on together in the early 40s, Cat People and I Walked With a Zombie. In part that’s because its ending is a bit abrupt and unsatisfactory — but it’s still one of the most remarkable B films ever to have come out of Hollywood.
These types of scenes—of women moving through dangerous nighttime, trying to reach safety—were Lewton’s bread and butter (the most memorable sound in his films is of heels clicking on cobblestone), and that same year’s The Leopard Man, directed by Tourneur, is a brilliant showcase for them. In fact, with its succession of scenes of women stalked by unseen forces, it’s considered a landmark prototype for the slasher film.
The camera’s tender scratch, a most graceful vision of a most predatory world, just about one of Borges’ Ficciones.