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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Arsenic and old claptrap
on 12 October 2011
I generally like black and white melodramas, especially those produced by Gainsborough in the early post-war years. But this was a disappointment. Ivan Desny is no substitute for James Mason and Norman Wooland lacks the spark of Stewart Granger. Ann Todd does her best as a woman with a dilemma and a domineering dad, played well by Leslie Banks. Todd had been selected by Lean because she had starred in the West End stage version 'The Rest is Silence'.The score was a bit over the top, and only the highland reel, danced ludicrously in the distance by the ill-fated couple, brought some Scottish reality to a banal scenario. The film only came to life in the court scene where the opposing advocates, played by Barry Jones and Andre Morell, jousted admirably and eloquently. I have seen nearly all of David Lean's films and this was the least impressive. Noel Coward told Lean what he thought was wrong with the film, 'I don't think you can end a film not knowing what the end really is'. As with the case, the film is NOT PROVEN. For an evaluation of the case I suggest reading the article "Was she a poisoner ?" (Bandwagon vol.10. no.3 pp 36-39).