An intelligent and absorbing psychological drama that took the Oscar for Best Screenplay, THE SEVENTH VEIL was shot in under three months on a modest budget of less than 100,000 pounds and proved that a polished movie could be made for a reasonable price. Todd, in her best performance of
an up-and-down career in which she never got the acclaim she deserved, is a concert pianist who suffers from fits of depression and attempts suicide. Her hands were once hurt in an accident and she fears that she will lose their use. The picture unreels in flashback as Todd checks into a mental
hospital and puts herself in the care of psychiatrist Lom, who guides her through her past and lifts the veils of her memory. With the aid of drugs and hypnosis, Todd goes back to the time when she was brutally caned by a cruel headmistress the night before she was to take her final exams in
music. The result was that she failed the test. Todd is an orphan put in the care of crippled and charismatic Mason, a bachelor who dedicates himself to cultivating her talents. When Todd attempts romance with bandleader McDermott, Mason takes her to Paris where she plays brilliantly and delights
crowds and critics. Then she falls for Lieven, an artist; in an attempt to put an end to that attachment, Mason steals a car and crashes it with Todd inside; her hands are burned. Now that Todd has discovered why she feels the way she does, she becomes aware that her talent remains, and the
recognition of her personal history causes her to race to the arms of the man she truly loves, Mason.
It's a complex picture that only skims the surface of mental illnes, but the attempt was admirable, if a bit simplistic. Still, for the time, praise must be given to the Boxes for their story and to former film editor Bennett for his direction. The producers showed it to audiences on a
sneak-preview basis and let them decide the ending. At first, no one was quite sure how to conclude it. But when the cards came in, it was indicated that the audiences felt Todd should wind up with Mason, and so that is implied at the conclusion. Pianist Eileen Joyce did the solos for Todd. Two
years before this, Todd electrified London with her stage work in "Lottie Dundass," in which she played opposite Sybil Thorndike. She began her professional career in 1931 in KEEPERS OF YOUTH and eventually became a producer and director of travel films. Czech-born Lom, who later was seen as Peter
Sellers's boss in the "Pink Panther" films, was making his fifth film.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: An intelligent and absorbing psychological drama that took the Oscar for Best Screenplay, THE SEVENTH VEIL was shot in under three months on a modest budget of less than 100,000 pounds and proved that a polished movie could be made for a reasonable price.… (more)