Tormented

Tom Stewart, the “best jazz pianist in the world,” is getting married to a young, rich beauty in a week…but not if his clingy, shapely ex-girlfriend can stop it. Vi Mason, a smoky singer with a body to rival Jayne Mansfield’s, confronts Tom in an abandoned lighthouse and begs him not to marry his intended, Meg. When begging doesn’t work, she tries blackmail instead. Seems she has some incriminating love letters that Tom may have written to her while he was dating both women. When he still refuses to call off his impending marriage, curvy Vi swears that no one will ever have him but her…and then she backs her big butt up against the loose lighthouse railing and falls to her death to the rocky ocean below. Tom, who could have saved her but hesitated, is now a guilt ridden mess, desperately trying to cover up his “crime.” But Vi is not so easily gotten ridden of. Is it her ghost following him around and tormenting him, or is it his own guilty conscience?

The plot of “Tormented” is about as shaky and unstable as the lighthouse railing was. Tom acts like a murderer through the whole film, when in fact he’s just a stupid dope who let a fatally attracted harpy fall to her death. He could have called the police and told them anything he wanted to at that point, including the truth without fear of prosecution, but instead he drags himself through the film with a constipated look on his face, seemingly eager to accept his own guilt. His shrill-voiced fiancĂ©e Meg, in a nice twist, seems more attracted to the idea of marrying a famous musician than spending her life with a man she truly loves and her annoying 9 year old little sister Sandy is nearly as obsessed with Tom as Vi was, following him around and pestering him constantly. When she witnesses the murder of a nosy hepcat ferryman at the hands of Tom, she becomes as plodding and listless as Tom himself, keeping the truth to herself instead of reporting the crime to anyone. No one is very believable here, and their motives (with the exception of the hepcat, who suspects the truth and just wants money) are ridiculous. There’s a nice moment when Vi’s ghost, who has by now been established as very real and not at all the product of a guilty conscience, invades the wedding of Tom and Meg, wilting the flowers and snuffing out the candles with her cold presence and effectively destroying the nuptials before they can take place. But other than that, this is a pretty weak film which seemed far too long for the threadbare story it had to tell and suffering from over-dramatic voice-overs by Tom himself, as though he thought this film would be his Sunset Boulevard.