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    I Walked With a Zombie

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    ISBN: 9781837645169
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    AuthorDawson, Clive
    Pub Date01/08/2023
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    I Walked with a Zombie (1943), Val Lewton's second feature for RKO Radio Pictures, was described by critic Robin Wood as 'perhaps the most delicate poetic fantasy in the American Cinema.' Following immediately in the wake of the groundbreaking Cat People (1942), Zombie pioneered an even more radical narrative approach yet proved to be the critical and commercial equal of its predecessor, cementing the reputation of both Lewton and his director, Jacques Tourneur.

    Despite the lurid, studio-imposed title, I Walked with a Zombie is a subtle and ambiguous visual poem that advanced a daring condemnation of slavery and colonialism at a time when such themes were being actively suppressed by government censors. Clive Dawson charts the complex development and production of the project, essential to understanding the concerns of the filmmakers in the context of wartime Hollywood, then analyses the film in detail, referencing a broad range of academic studies of the audio-visual text and distilling new insight into its layers of meaning. Finally, he explores the film's reception, and the influence it exerted on the horror genre and beyond. Extensive primary research has uncovered a wealth of previously unpublished new material that solves many unanswered questions and dispels various myths about this utterly unique film.