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OK ATMOSPHERIC THRILLER...
on 28 February 2004
This film, based upon the book, "Some Must Watch" by Ethel Lina White, author of "The Lady Vanishes", which was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock, is an atmospheric, gothic thriller. It not particularly suspenseful, however, as anyone with half a brain can figure out what is going on fairly early in the film.
The plot revolves around a turn of the century serial killer who singles out those who have some sort of affliction. At risk is Helen Capel (Dorothy McGuire), a young, mute woman, who works as a servant/companion for a crotchety invalid, Mrs. Warren (Ethel Barrymore), who lives in an enormous Gothic style mansion outside of town. There she lives with her step-son, Professor Warren (George Brent) and her biological son, Steve (Gordon Oliver). Mrs. Warren has some concern that Helen may be next on this serial killers hit list. She also suspects her biological son of the unspeakable.
There is friction in the household between Professor Warren and his brother Steve. It appears that they both are salivating over Blanche (Rhonda Fleming), a tasty morsel of flesh who acts as secretary to Professor Warren. There is also friction between Mrs. Warren and her private nurse , Nurse Barker (Sara Allgood) Moreover, the housekeeper, Mrs. Oates (Elsa Lanchester) has a drinking problem. What a motley crew. To complicate matters further, the town's new doctor, Dr. Parry (Kent Smith), hankers after Helen. It is also clear that the serial killer, for different reasons, also hankers after Helen. The only question is as to his identity and whether he can be stopped before Helen joins the ranks of the dearly departed.
Though the cast is quite good and the screenplay is suitably melodramatic in feel, the film never became really gripping. Still, notwithstanding its predictability, this film is certainly worth a rental.