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Monday, February 13, 2017


Jean Simmons & Stewart Granger co-starred in a couple of underrated pics over their 10-yr marriage, this the lesser of the two.* Largely a straightforward London-based period thriller about wife murderer Granger and the housemaid who blackmails him not for money, but for love & possession. Her motives & actions adding a decidedly perverse angle to standard plot twists not brilliantly handled in the script; DIAL M FOR MURDER, this ain’t. For that matter, director Arthur Lubin is no Hitchcock. But soundstage sets (interiors and exteriors) confer a certain visual unity to the doings amid the cascading fog of a London ‘pea-souper,’ as caught by lenser Christopher Challis. Bill Travers gets in nice support as the jilted fiancé of an upper-crust lady Granger has designs on, but the general level of effectiveness can only go so far against a plot that falls back on mistaken identity and confessional letters to keep things moving in the right direction. Good chilly fun as far as it goes, but it could easily have gone farther.

DOUBLE-BILL: *The earlier pic (it also stars Deborah Kerr) is YOUNG BESS/’53, about Elizabeth Tudor’s road to royalty. Unexpectedly smart & involving, with director George Sidney megging handsomely and a glory-drenched Miklos Rozsa score that should be better known. (See Write-Up w/ LINK below.)

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