Wednesday, May 06, 2015


In this Gothic melodrama, Blanche (Valerie Hobson) is a poor outcast relation of the Fury family, eking out a living as a paid companion to a cranky old lady when she is called back by her rich uncle to be governess to his widowed son's daughter Lavinia. Eventually, she marries Lawrence, the rather mild-mannered son (Michael Gough), though it's clearly more a convenient arrangement on both their parts than a love match. Blanche soon gets involved with the handsome but sullen estate manager Philip Thorn (Stewart Granger); he is the bastard son of another Fury but his relationship has never been recognized by the family. Philip has lawyers trying to track down evidence of an Italian wedding license, but when nothing comes up, he takes more decisive action, killing Lawrence (with the passive acquiescence of Blanche) and then marrying Blanche so he will be set up to be the legal master of the estate. Things are peachy for a while, but when Blanche suspects that Philip wants to kill Lavinia to get her out of the way of succession, she changes her mind about acquiescing. 

This may well be the first Technicolor Gothic film, and the main reasons for watching it are the sumptuous color and the lovely sets. Generally, the movie lacks tension and the acting is so-so. Hobson and Granger do have some chemistry, but it's allowed to dissipate in the last half-hour. There's a lot of plot in the movie, but still, not much seems to happen. The weirdest thing in the movie is the family legend of Fury's Ape which supposedly watches over the family. A carving of the ape's face is shown occasionally, but to no real effect. Not without interest, but not essential viewing. Pictured above are Hobson and Granger. [Netflix streaming]

No comments: