Archive for November 22nd, 2011


(UK 1940 68m) DVD2

A carrion crow sat on a tree…

p  George King, Odette King  d  George King  w  Edward Dryhurst, Frederick Hayward, H.F.Maltby  novel  “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins  ph  Hone Glendenning  ed  Jack Harris  m  Jack Beaver  art  Bernard Robinson

Tod Slaughter (Sir Percival Glyde, impostor), Sylvia Marriott (Anne Catherick/Laura Fairlie), Hilary Eaves (Marion Hairlie), Hay Petrie (Dr Isidor Fosco), Geoffrey Wardwell (Paul Hartwright), Margaret Yarde (Mrs Bullen), Rita Grant (Jessica, the maid), David Horne (Frederick Fairlie), David Keir (Merriman), Elsie Wagstaff (Mrs Catherick),

           To say that Tod Slaughter is an acquired taste is one of the biggest understatements one could ever make.  He’s like cinematic marmite and for many just as difficult to swallow.  His films, if seen in the cold light of day, are archaic fossils, transcriptions of old blood-curdling melodramas that were popular on the boards of amateur theatrical houses in the Victorian and Edwardian era.  While the upper classes went to see Henry Irving, Edward Gordon Craig and Ellen Terry, the masses came to see the predecessors of Tod Slaughter chew the scenery in productions with all the refinement of a tavern wench’s cleavage. 

            Slaughter’s peak period was from the mid 1930s to 1940, and included such lip-smacking nonsense as Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Maria Marten, The Crimes of Stephen Hawke, Sexton Blake and the Hooded Terror and the hamtastic The Face at the Window.  If one had to nominate a favourite, however, it has to be Crimes at the Dark House, which dared even to literary pretensions as a rough adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ famous chiller The Woman in White.  In it Slaughter plays a scoundrel whose name we don’t know, but who adopts the name of Sir Percival Glyde after he murders him out in Australia and takes his family ring and a letter advising him to come home and take up the role of baronet because his father had died.  On his arrival, he finds out that the old baronet died leaving debts of 15,782 pounds, 18 shillings and five pence.  His only way out is to marry the daughter of one of the old baronet’s late friends, Laura Fairlie.  She will bring a fortune, which he can then take control of.  (more…)

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