Thursday, March 07, 2013

The great Val Lewton - never forgotten

Tonight, or to be more correct, in the early hours of tomorrow, the ABC will be broadcasting another one of the 1940s Hollywood movies produced by Val Lewton.

Lewton's films are a frequent feature of late night programming at ABC1, because his movies still mean something to audiences seventy-odd years after they were made. Most of Lewton's famous movies were over-achievers in the degraded genre of horror movies. Tonight's movie, Youth Gone Wild, isn't a horror flick, but might be worth a look. My interest in Lewton isn't limited to loving his pictures. I've been absolutely fascinated to discover that many famous and interesting people were or are synaesthetes. Lewton is one of them, a unique and puzzling personality regardless of any neurological quirks. He is one of the famous people I wrote about in my second book:

The Mysterious Mind of Opal Whiteley: Four Unique Lives Compared.
by Lili Marlene

I recently was fortunate to get a hold of a copy of the old and substantial book More From Hollywood by DeWitt Bodeen. Bodeen worked closely with Lewton, writing the screenplays of his evocative and thoughtful horror classics Cat People and The Curse of the Cat People. As was also the case with some other people who worked with Lewton, their working relationship ended on a sour note (a synaesthesia metaphor?). I find it very interesting that the recycling of aspects of the literary work of others was a factor in this discord in their relationship. If anyone can be said to have had a naturally exceptional memory, Lewton is one, and possibly also his legendary actress aunt "Nazimova", and in my book I have identified a number of traits that four interesting famous people have in common. Some of those traits include synaesthesia, exceptional or eidetic memory and a tendency to plagiarize or recycle ideas in writing. Lewton had a very interesting mind, and his movies wouldn't be as memorable if this hadn't been the case.

No comments: