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14

FRIDAY

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Before he was 30, Russian émigré Val Lewton had published 10 novels, six nonfiction works, a book of poetry, and the pornographic novel Yasmine. At 46, he was dead—victim of a bum ticker. But in the interim, he also managed to produce 14 movies, many of which are today considered classics of noir horror. The hallmark of a Lewton picture was a literate sensibility and an emphasis on unsettling atmospherics rather than monsters. Bedlam, co-written by Lewton under the pseudonym Carlos Keith, features Boris Karloff as the wickedly cruel Master Sims, warden of an 18th-century insane asylum in which a young actress is unjustly imprisoned. Can she escape before losing her mind? Hmmm…. The Leopard Man concerns an escaped feline and a series of mysterious maulings. But is the cat to blame? Ooh, creepy. The films screen at 6:30 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-5677. (Dave Nuttycombe)