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David Lean directs this film based on the true story of a Glasgow woman accused of murdering her lover in 1857. Madeleine (Ann Todd) is the eldest daughter in a respectable Victorian Glasgow family. She begins an affair with Frenchman Piere Emile L'Anglier (Ivan Desny) without her father's knowledge. Meanwhile, Madeleine's father (Leslie Banks) insists on her seeing various suitors. When Madeleine becomes engaged to William Minnoch (Norman Wooland), Pierre threatens to reveal their relationship. Five weeks later, Pierre is found dead, and Madeleine is arrested for his murder.
Top Customer Reviews
As a film made early in Lean's work, it differs greatly from the latter work that made him so well-known and much-admired: it is in black and white, small-scale, shot almost entirely indoors, and, in fact, for much of its length, is a courtroom drama.Read more ›
The ITV DVD from Great Britain is a nicely rendered transfer in the appropraite 1.33 aspect ratio.
Historically accurate and with a well drawn and worthy cast this makes absorbing viewing.
A young Victorian woman (Ann Todd) is secretly meeting a handsome, mysterious and exciting young Frenchman who appears tapping at her Cellar window late at night when everyone else in the house has gone to bed. It's unclear as to how Todd's character ever met the man - and more surprisingly; how it all ends - but this only adds fascination to the very unusual plot.
The Frenchman (played marvellously by Ivan Desny) appears to be from a different class (though dressed affluently) but excepting this; there seems no obvious reason for any opposition coming into play from the girl's parents to disapprove of such a match.
With a 'sinister' undercurrent that's distinctly 'vague' in its presence - there are some wonderful scenes - including a close shot of Desny's character's 'masculine' prowess when seen stood in leather boots towering over the skirts of Ann Todd's character, after she's fallen to the ground at his feet imploring him not to expose their relationship to her father. There is also an interesting and 'obscure' scene when both characters are seen dancing to nearby music outside in the moonlight late at night.
One of the best stories involving any kind of romance I have seen - cleverly combined with an implied 'sinister' mystery that never really gets solved... In view of Desny's wonderful portrayal of the gentleman, one can only empathise and sympathise at how Todd's character 'hypnotically' would die for this small piece of illicit romance with such a fascinating and exciting man!
Also stars Barbara Everest.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another brilliant black and white costume drama. A really good watch.Published 3 months ago by Mrs Joyce Berry
Great classic,not to well known has Rebecca and other similar films. Still holds the viewer and the black and white filming holds wellPublished 7 months ago by Lorrain A. Inman
An intense and unusual film which keenly evokes Victorian Britain. This true story is quite sinister and moving. It is very well casted and directed.Published 8 months ago by Jennifer
Beautifully observed, highly ambiguous. A dark treat. Too bad Lean regarded it as his worst...Published 10 months ago by D HUTERA