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Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows (2007)

Martin Scorsese narrates this tribute to Val Lewton, the producer of a series of memorable low-budget horror films for RKO Studios. Raised by his mother and his aunt, his films often ... See full summary »

Director:

Kent Jones

Writer:

Kent Jones
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Martin Scorsese ... Narrator (voice)
Elias Koteas ... Val Lewton (voice)
Orson Welles ... Himself (voice) (archive footage)
Val E. Lewton Val E. Lewton ... Himself - Son of Val Lewton
Alexander Nemerov Alexander Nemerov ... Himself - Author of 'Icons of Grief'
Roger Corman ... Himself
Glen Gabbard Glen Gabbard ... Himself - Author of 'Psychiatry and the Cinema' (as Dr. Glen Gabbard)
Jacques Tourneur ... Himself (archive footage)
Kiyoshi Kurosawa ... Himself
Geoffrey O'Brien Geoffrey O'Brien ... Himself - Author of 'The Phantom Empire'
Ann Carter ... Herself (as Ann Carter Newton)
Robert Wise ... Himself (archive footage)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Edith Atwater ... (archive footage)
Ben Bard ... (archive footage)
Edith Barrett ... (archive footage)
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Storyline

Martin Scorsese narrates this tribute to Val Lewton, the producer of a series of memorable low-budget horror films for RKO Studios. Raised by his mother and his aunt, his films often included strong female characters who find themselves in difficult situations and who have to grow up quickly. He is best remembered for the horror films he made at RKO starting in 1940. Starting with only a title - his first was The Cat People - he would meticulously oversee every aspect of the film's completion. Although categorized as horror films, his films never showed a monster, leaving it all to the viewers imagination, assisted by music, mood and lighting. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

TV-PG
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Details

Official Sites:

Turner Classic Movies

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Japanese

Release Date:

2 September 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Martin Scorsese Presents: Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The narrator said that Val Lewton hated Boris Karloff and didn't want to work with him. However, the narrator further says that Karloff said about Lewton "he rescued me and restored my soul". It is, however, unclear why. See more »

Crazy Credits

All credited performers following Robert Wise are identified by a graphic or orally by the narrator. See more »

Connections

Features I Walked with a Zombie (1943) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Shadow Play
2 February 2015 | by twistinghostSee all my reviews

Val Lewton is a deeply respected hero of American cinema, but his works are best appreciated without scholars telling you why Lewton's contributions are so important. To begin with, it's disrespectful to the directors of Lewton's films to have film historians waxing on about every detail and crediting Lewton almost exclusively, as if he was the director. In the event that you never noticed before, Hollywood is collectively its own biggest fan. Watching Turner Classic Movies on a regular basis will expose you to film experts and movie people gushing over past works as if God himself, or perhaps they were interim Dr. Frankensteins acting as proxy creators. Martin Scorsese is almost as well known for his embellishments on the topic as he is for his own pictures.

"Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows" is a library of prose praising the visual style, the dialog, the lighting, the mood -- attributes normally credited to the director, as if the actual directors of these films were merely showing up and collecting a check while Lewton commandeered every job on and off the set. The fault is, as noted before, the self-referential adoration from the industry itself of its own offspring. Imagine for a moment having to hear such praise of one's work from carpenters, mechanics, teachers, civil servants, construction crews...it would be appalling to be subjected to poetic essays on the greatness of their jobs which are, truth be known, of much greater significance to society as a whole.

The moral of the story: the entertainment industry needs to get over itself, do its job and go home. The single benefit of this production is that the films highlighted can be looked at as more detailed trailers, even though the films represented are quite a bit overstated. Let movies entertain you and forget the idea that experts need to teach you how to enjoy them.


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