The scheduled October resurrection of historic Chumley’s bar at 86 Bedford St. (WestView News, September) reminds me of its portrayal in the classic Val Lewton-produced B film The Seventh Victim (RKO,1943), set in the West Village.
Kim Hunter, in her film debut, as Mary Gibson, comes to New York in search of her missing sister Jacqueline, played by Jean Brooks. In the climax, Brooks flees lethal devil worshippers past two fictionalized landmarks, the 1924 Cherry Lane Theatre, here re-named the Ivy Lane, and 1924 Chumley’s, here called Cleary’s. Earlier, there is a “Dante Restaurant” on Perry that has no counterpart.
Hunter, later a chimpanzee in Planet of the Apes and an Oscar winner for A Streetcar Named Desire, actually lived in an adjacent building to the Cherry Lane of 38 Commerce St. “Hunter” on the doorbell chart at 2R remained for ten years after her death in 2002. In The Seventh Victim, her character is not in the Cherry/Ivy Lane scene, nor does it have a stage door of this type.
When this poll worker saw Hunter voting at site PS3 on Hudson in the late 1990’s, I approached her with, “Excuse me miss. If you are looking for your sister, I hear she hangs out at Dante Restaurant on Perry.” Reply: “I have no sister!” “But The Seventh Victim!” She laughed heartily. —Eric Spilker