(Review originally written at 12 February 2008)

The movie begins like a very typical Victorian-like costume movie, with real ladies and gentlemen but soon the movie makes a thriller turn, which makes the movie as a whole a surprising and fine contrasting one. It has a real good thriller story, that above all is also really original and everything gets uplifted all by its settings and time-period it is set in.

Even though this movie was from 1951, the movie certainly looks and feels like a '30's/'40's movie. It's in black & white, has Victorian settings and has '30's/'40's big time movie star Ethel Barrymore in it. The style of film-making and the way things are set up are also done in an old fashioned, as the overall visual style and atmosphere of the movie. Basically the only thing that gives away that this is a '50's movie is that Angela Lansbury is in it as well.

It's an early thriller that works mostly out because of its original as well as intriguing story about a 'poor' man and his wife and baby who are kindly given shelter by an elderly lady. Only thing is, he doesn't want to go away and soon start taking over the household and takes the command, especially when some of his 'friends' show up as well, without giving much more away of it all. The story makes this movie a sort of an 'unpleasant' one to watch. of course in a positive and effective way. It provides the movie with a constant certain tension and not knowing what will happen next.

But lets not overpraise this movie too much, fore it's definitely not the best or most perfect movie within its genre. The story and directions it is heading in are at times a bit too simple for that and also the restrained settings prevent this from being a true genre classic. It's a good and original early movie within its genre and it deserves to be known better but not really a movie you must see before you die or anything.

The movie is directed by John Sturges. The man best known for directing movies such as "The Magnificent Seven", "The Great Escape" and "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral". So he's not really a man that is widely known for his thriller making expertise and it sort of makes it a shame after watching this movie that he didn't made any more thrillers in his career, since he obviously had the right talent and skills for it.

The movie features Ethel Barrymore in a rather late role of hers. She is best known for her roles in '30's and '40's movies, as is she known for being the sister of John and Lionel Barrymore. Sort of funny that she once more plays a character in this movie who is mostly sitting on a chair and lying in a bed, as she also used to do in many other previous roles of her. But she plays a good role in this movie, even though I just never have been the biggest fan of her. Maurice Evans also plays a good early typical thriller villain with a brain. It was also nice to see a still quite young Angela Lansbury in this movie. Never thought I would see Angela Lansbury and Ethel Barrymore in one and the same movie together! It's a kind of a surreal image.

Definitely a movie that deserves to be better known and seen by more!


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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