Saturday, October 12, 2019

I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE - "She's Alive... Yet Dead" (1943)

This Saturday Night Halloween Countdown Special is an honest to dog true classic!

"I Walked With A Zombie" came out in 1943, and the world hasn't been safe from zombies ever since, thanx to Val Lewton and Jacques Tourneur!

The quite lovely Frances (The Night Of June 13, If I Had A Million) Dee is a nurse in Canada named Betsy Connell. She has just got an offer to be a private nurse for some rich fellah's wife in the West Indies!

So why the Hell not, she takes the job, and off she goes! What a brave woman!

On the ship, Betsy meets a somber and negative man called Paul Holland, the husband of the woman she is to care for. Tom Conway is Paul Holland! Tom was "The Falcon" in at least ten movies, and he was also in Dungeon classics like "Atomic Submarine," and "Voodoo Woman."

The Holland home on the plantation is quite splendid, and the shutters everywhere create some wild lighting effects like this. "I Walked With A Zombie" was shot entirely in Hollywood, but you never really think about it while watching it!

"I Walked With A Zombie" has a strong female cast led by Frances Dee! On the poster her name is sandwiched in between the two male stars James Ellison and Tom Conway, but she is the star of the show without a doubt!

The role of Paul Holland's zombie wife goes to Christine Gordon as Jessica Holland in her first of only six credits. It's a strong female role in a completely different department!

Despite the extremely disturbing circumstances, Betsy Connell remains strong and dedicated to her job!

Christine Gordon remains in a hypnotic state for the whole film, because she is after all, a zombie!

Paul Holland's half brother is James (The Undying Monster, The Ghost Goes Wild) Ellison as Wesley Rand! He has a bit of a drinking problem!
In the background, the local troubadour as played by calypso singer Sir Lancelot creeps into the scene!

His God given name was Lancelot Victor Edward Pinard, so Sir Lancelot wasn't that far of a stretch!
He must have been doing something right because Sir Lancelot lived to the age of 98.

Here's a short classical musical moment of Sir Lancelot's performance courtesy of YouTube!

Another strong female role in this film is Theresa Harris as Alma the maid. It could have been a lowly role, but she brings it beauty and charm! Theresa had over 100 credits, which was a lot for a woman of this era, and almost incomprehensible for a black woman, and look at her, she's gorgeous!

 Another solid female part in this film is Edith Barrett as Mrs. Rand.
Here's what I learned while writing this, Edith Barrett was the wife of Vincent Price for ten years and the Mother of Vincent Barret Price. Sadly, booze and drugs destroyed her life!

So off they go to find out why Jessica is a such a messica!

From Alma's directions, Betsy leads Jessica to the Voodoo camp.

This is a killer lobby card from when they bump into the zombie guard!
Darby (White Cargo, Black Magic) Jones is probably the strongest, and most iconic of all the male characters in the film!

No happy ending here folks!
Even the zombie is saddened by the whole damned affair!

"I Walked With A Zombie" is only 69 minutes long, so there is absolutely no reason why every person alive or dead shouldn't see it at least once, especially this time of the year!

And then of course, this classic film inspired this classic song!
Hit It!


Caffeinated Joe said...

It is a good, moody, atmospheric gem!

EEGAH!! said...

A perfect description in seven words Joe! I should learn how to be so concise! I can't even respond to your comment in seven words, much less describe a movie! Thanx!

Robert M. Lindsey said...

Tom Conway is George Sanders brother!

Bob Johns said...

Such a good flick for this time of the year crap thats ten words

Guillaume said...

I remember enjoying that one a lot. A very different kind of horror and IMO one of the best (and one of the few proper) use of zombies in a horror story.

EEGAH!! said...

Well, I think we're all in agreement here! Great little movie, and that's okay Bob, ten works too!

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