The Seventh Veil from 1945 with Ann Todd, James Mason and Herbert Lom
A bit slow in places, but overall an enjoyable if odd psychological melodrama (I guess that's a thing) that smartly uses Ann Todd to patch over any weaknesses. She plays the orphaned young teenage ward of an aloof non-blood uncle who recognizes and promotes her incipient talent as a pianist.
As her talent emerges - through her hard work and his smart and relentless coaching efforts - he emphasizes to her the value of her hands as the tools of her art, but this happens inside a prickly relationship where Todd all but begs for affection which Mason all but can't give. This working dysfunction is challenged when seventeen-year-old Todd falls in love with a popular local band leader (Lom), but Mason kiboshes that as he, her legal guardian until she is 21, won't consent to her marriage.
From there, their relationship, not surprisingly, becomes somewhat embittered, but her career takes off, somewhat papering over the tension. Years later, even after she is legally free, Todd stays with Mason as some odd bond holds these two together - love, hate, respect, habit - who knows, I guess that's why it's a "psychological melodrama."
Then enters another man; Todd falls in love again; Mason tries to thwart their plans, but fails this time. As the young couple escapes, they have a car accident resulting in Todd's all-important hands getting burned. Todd suffers some sort of mental breakdown even though the injury to her hands is minor and temporary. She tries to commit suicide and winds up under the care of a modern-thinking-for-1945 psychiatrist (Freud, dreams, repressed fears, etc.)
The movie actually opens here with most of the story told through flashbacks that Todd has while under hypnosis (it's 1945 and this is what smart psychiatrists did and, in movies, hypnosis works). From here, it's Todd struggling with her mind, Mason trying to dismiss the psychiatrist, the fiancee hanging around waiting for Todd to "come back to him" and a lot of Todd's angst and repressed feelings coming out.
Finally, we have the emotional breakthrough resulting in Todd able to play the piano again. Now, to complete her recovery, she must choose which of the men she truly loves: Mason, the fiancee or the old-flame bandleader (whom the psychiatrist finds to help Todd). And her choice is surprising. To wit, The Seventh Veil is rightly billed as a psychological melodrama as it has plenty of Freud and plenty of soap opera.
It's not bad - kinda a poor-man's Spellbound (also a psychological melodrama from the same year - movie themes do have a vogue). And The Seventh Veil gets over its slow part owing to Todd's arresting beauty and serious acting talent.
Considering that her beauty is a combination of blondness, chiseled features, haunting eyes, glowing skin and aloofness, one wonders why Hitchcock, a connoisseur of icy-cold blondes, only worked with Ann Todd one time, in The Paradine Case.
In fact, The Seventh Veil, a reasonably well-done psychological melodrama, could have used a little help from the master director to speed it along in spots and add some oomph in others. Ironically, he was tied up making its movie cognate Spellbound at the same time. That's The Seventh Veil's loss, but still, it's worth the watch for the story and for Todd.