The most elegant of Val Lewton's low budget horrors for RKO, an imaginative updating of Jane Eyre which anticipates Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea by transposing the action to the Caribbean, with Rochester's first wife not mad but the victim of a voodoo spell. The script, weaving a delicately intricate web of local superstition around a litany of oblique references to the relativity of good and evil, does wonders in creating an ambiguously unsettling atmosphere. But it is Tourneur's caressingly evocative direction, superbly backed by Roy Hunt's chiaroscuro images, that makes sheer magic of the film's brooding journey into fear by way of voodoo drums, gleaming moonlight, somnambulistic ladies in fluttering white, and dark, silent, undead sentries.
Cast and crew
Curt Siodmak, Ardel Wray