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Sunday, June 26, 2011

THE UPTURNED GLASS (1947)

This romantic psychological thriller from the U.K. aims for the tony tone of Hitchcock’s REBECCA/’40 and SUSPICION/’41. And while it has more than it’s share of narrative hiccoughs, it’s still something of a find. It’s also a family project with James Mason as co-producer/star, and wife Pamela (Kellino) Mason not only co-scripting but also making a dab villain. James is typically suave & sinister as a neurosurgeon who falls for the married mother of one of his patients. And it’s only natural that he grows suspicious when she’s found dead. A suicide? An accident? Or murder? Mason convinces himself that the sister-in-law was responsible and works up an elaborate revenge. But things don’t quite go as planned. The film has a nifty structure, opening with a flashback that hasn’t yet happened and a delightfully deranged last act that manages to include a Shavian dialectic on death & medical ethics (more Hobbes than Hippocrates) between Mason & a General Practitioner he happens to picks up on the road!; while he’s carting a dead body in the car's back seat!; as they drive to an emergency case!; where Mason’s medical expertise is unexpectedly needed to save a life! Whew! Farfetched stuff, but lots of fun. Plus strong tech credits from lenser Reginald Wyer and a stunner of a score from classical composer & teacher Bernard Stevens. With a mere handful of credits, this guy sounds like a British Bernard Herrman in the making. Who dropped the ball on this career? (This is the third pic on a handy DVD from MPI entitled Classic British Thrillers.)

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Listen closely during the flashback . The voiceover switches from Mason to some unknown third party. Odd.

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