IS THE MOVIE “I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE” (1943) BASED ON REAL EVENTS?

Oh yes indeed! RKO had actress Frances Dee and several zombies under contract and wanted to take advantage of them. So when Jacques Tourneur submitted the project of “Days of Glory”, a script set in World War II, RKO immediately offered him Miss Dee and the zombies. Tourneur was a picky director and claimed that what he needed was Nazis and a brave Allied officer. But RKO was short of Nazis in those days (they were all on the Eastern Front), so Tourneur decided to leave his war script on standby (“Days of Glory” would be filmed a year later) and to look for a new script with zombies in it. There weren’t many scripts with zombies moving around Hollywood at the time. In fact, hiring zombies had been a hasty decision that RKO made as a result of misinterpreting the word ‘bobbies’ (cops) written in an English script. In short, Tourneur was forced to dip into real life experience to find a plot for his movie “I Walked With a Zombie”. (In the end, RKO would get a pretty good profit from their zombies as this movie was the first in a long series of low-budget zombie movies, among which is to note the comedy “Zombies on Broadway”. Moreover, one of the zombies proved to be an excellent dancer and singer in the line of Al Jolson.)

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