Fine crime drama with good acting from especially Jessica Tandy and
Charles Boyer, but also from Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Mildred Natwick
in the smaller parts. Method acting meets Film Noir when Tandy takes
on her role in an impressive way and Charles Boyer, not really a
favourite actor of mine, impresses too here and gives a very fine performance
as the husband suspected of murdering his wife. I've never
seen him better. But, Tandy, a success on the theatre stage in Tennessee
Williams "A Streetcar Named Desire" around this time steals
as the friendly neighbour woman Miss Janet Spence. A fascinating portrait
of a woman of the verge of cracking up.
The film script is written by famous author Aldous Huxley
and it's based on his short crime and social satire story "The
Rich middle-aged Henry Maurier (Boyer) is unhappily
married to a sickly and hysterical woman, Emily (Rachel Kempson) and
constantly nagging him that he wants her dead so he can be with one
of his young mistresses. They've been married for 18 years
and they've nothing in common and both are cynical and disillusioned,
and Henry actually does have a young mistress in the still
a teenager, 18-year old Doris (Ann Blyth). So, Henry Maurier is a rich,
bored, unhappy and cynical man with a much too young
lover, but still, he's slightly likeable (in a way that Boyer normally
wasn't in his films as he, as i remember, often portrayed slick and
slimy characters with a french accent) and the question is - could he
possibly be the Bad Guy ?
Friends and neighbours of the Mauriers are the Spences,
and Emily complains to Miss Janet Spence (Jessica Tandy) an unmarried
and somewhat attractive women in her late 30's that Henry would be happy
if she died.
When Henry comes home after an evening with his lover he finds out that
Emily has died suddenly from a heart-attack and that Janet
was the only one by her side. When Henry re-marries quickly with 18-year
old Doris everything seems to be copacetic for him,
but .... the bitter Henry-hating ex-Maurier household nurse (Mildred
Natwick) , now with the Spences household (nursing old Mr.
Spencer) , accuses him of having Emily killed with poison, and an exhumation
of the body takes place.
The film is presented in 4:3 fullscreen original ratio,
black & white with an DD mono english audio, region 2 DVD