Tormented (1960)

Article #658 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 1-2-2003
Posting date: 6-1-2003

A jazz pianist fails to save the life of a jilted lover who is blackmailing him to come back to her, and then finds himself haunted by her ghost.

This Bert I. Gordon-directed ghost story has some very interesting ideas, but despite that and an interesting island setting, there’s something about the way the whole thing unfolds that strikes me as rather dull and dreary. It could be really wonderfully ambiguous if it had decided to take the tack that the ghost may be merely a figment of the pianist’s imagination; this would make it fit in better with the subplots having to do with his attempts to cover up the incident that only result in him actually turning to murder to do so. In fact, I sometimes wonder if the ghost part of the story was tacked onto a somewhat noirish melodrama; I certainly find that part of the story more interesting than the somewhat silly ghost antics. With all the remakes being made these days, I wish they would take more time looking at movies like this; ones with good ideas but that never quite worked out the first time are the ones that most need to be remade rather than already established classics. Unfortunately, they would also be harder to market, so it’s highly unlikely that would happen. Richard Carlson plays the pianist.


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