Tuesday, March 26, 2013


John Winnington is a doctor who is paying more attention to his research than to his more lucrative private practice. He is also ignoring his bored wife Sophie, who has a number of male admirers hanging around her at parties. When Sophie's sister Christine arrives to work with John, the two find themselves attracted to each other, and Sophie, with the use of a detective, builds a case against them as grounds for divorce. The day the divorce is finalized, also the day that Sophie plans to leave for Cape Town, John finds out that the law will not allow him to marry his ex-wife's sister unless the ex-wife dies. Later that day, on her way to the ship, Sophie collapses and dies, apparently a victim of poisoning. Circumstantial evidence points to John, and when he's found guilty, Christine and John's friend Eric frantically try to find the real culprit. Could it be whichever admirer of hers gave her a black orchid on the morning of her death? This British B-crime thriller is nothing special but is short and sweet, on the level of a decent TV show. There is no atmosphere at all—no one would ever mistake this for a film noir—and the lead performance of Ronald Howard (Leslie Howard's son) as John is passionless. However, the other actors are fine, especially Mary Laura Wood as the conniving Sophie, the handsome John Bentley as Eric, and Sheila Burrell as Sophie's neurotically devoted maid—think a less sinister Mrs. Danvers from REBECCA. There aren’t really enough characters here, so the identity of the killer is fairly obvious, and in the last 20 minutes, as things should be getting exciting, the film degenerates into scenes of Eric and Christine (pictured) driving and talking. [Netflix streaming]

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