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The Seventh Veil (1945), Ann Todd, James Mason

“The Seventh Veil” is a very interesting psychological drama, starring the great actor James Mason and the young Ann Todd. The film impressed me very much from the very beginning. It shows the story of a very gifted pianist, who attempts to commit suicide. The story is told in flashback mostly, and the atmosphere and the script are typical to a female gothic film. The heroine is very much attracted to her tyrannical uncle, who becomes her tutor after the death of her parents. This wealthy, but sinister and isolated man seems to refuse any kind of relationship with women, as he surrounds himself mostly with men (friends, servants etc.), owing to a childhood trauma. Even if in the beginning he rejects very harshly the timid and frightened Francesca, he discovers in her the talent of a great artist and so he involves in her education so deeply that not only he helps her to become a widely known pianist, but he also falls desperately in love with her. His passion and obsession towards this awkward little lady (who is not the classical feminine beauty; her hands are her most valued asset) almost destroys both their lives. When she tries to marry twice, every time she fails in doing so, as if a power from another world detained her from leaving her uncle. This struggle between love and hate towards him, and also the despair that she may never be able to play the piano again after a car accident, almost drive her mad, but in the end, with the help of a very good psychiatrist (played by Herbert Lom), she discovers that Nicholas is the only man she truly loves. The plot of this film reminds me of other productions that used the Freudian psychoanalysis as a subject. It’s interesting that only in the end do Francesca and Nicholas admit that they are desperately in love with each other, that they depend upon each other, and that they need to keep on living together for the rest of their lives, but not as a mentor and a pupil, but as lovers (maybe even as husband and wife). The ending surprised me very much (I honestly don’t know if it’s realistic, after all). The acting of James Mason and Ann Todd is superb, though, and I highly recommend you to watch this great motion picture of the mid 40s. Not just the stellar performances of the actors or the fascinating plot, which earned the film an Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay, but also the mix of so many classical piano songs will make you forget for one hour and a half where you really are and you will escape in another world, full of emotions, moods, and unforgettable images that will later become treasured memories from a viewer’s experience with a creation of the Seventh Art.

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