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on 4 November 2007
Many of Tod's melodramas like Maria Marten and The Face at the Window had been filmed numerous times since the dawn of British cinema. But in partnership with quota quickie producer George King, Tod stepped in front of film cameras for the first time to capture his signature role of Squire William Corder on celluloid. A typical 2-week residency at a provincial fleapit by Tod's company would consist of Maria Marten the first week and Sweeney the second.

Milton Rossmer handled directorial chores on this one instead of King and the difference shows. The camera is relatively mobile and seeks a number of interesting angles - especially as it prowls around the red Barn as Tod prepares to shoot the luckless Maria. Production values and period design are relatively high for what is in essence one of the much-derided quota-quickies. Tod is the central figure and a sympathetic, multi-faceted role for all his evil. At the opening barn dance, he is the life-and-soul of the party and ensures that all his guests are enjoying themselves as he cuts a merry caper on the dance floor. The flighty Maria is much taken with him - and who can blame her when the only alternative is the sullen Carlos the Gypsy. Far from being the callow young suitor who normally opposed Tod's leering baddies, Carlos is impulsive and a bit too handy with a knife for comfort. His pursuit of the uninterested Maria verges on stalking and Eric Portman plays him with an authority that matches Tod. The confrontation in the drawing room between the 2 men after Corder has received his dowry is an interesting conflict of two differing acting styles and I had to admire the way Corder was able to signal for help despite been at the mercy of Carlos. Tod Slaughter also demonstrates what a skilled comedy actor he was with some amusing interludes as he loses heavily at dice to a suavely-sleazy Dennis Hoey His facial contortions are a joy, as is his swindling of idiot Tim Winterbottom and his scarcely-concealed repulsion from his intended - the big-nosed Psalmist. By the end of the 30's, Tod's acting style was, even then, regarded as pass? and a bit of a joke. He was often reduced to performing shortened dramatic acts on stage on the ABC cinema circuit. Nonetheless, he kept active throughout his life (American soldiers stationed in Belfast during the war seeing him on stage didn't know what to make of him).
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on 13 April 2008
Much has been typed over the years of Tod Slaughter, the King of melodrama, the man who gave us, through the medium of the talking picture, a taste of the fare our forebears adored in the "penny gaffs" and "blood tubs" where one could feel the cathartic thrill of fear followed by the mellowing relief as the black 'earted willian a-comes to 'is just dessarts....
Slaughter was a dramatic actor of the old school, over the top, delighting in evil rather in the same way Vincent Price seemed to relish rancidly ripe roles for a later generation. Where Price had Corman, Slaughter had George King....
However as I said, much has been typed already and these particular titles have been available through one source or another for a while. SO! I shall rave about the sheer technical quality of this release. Having sat through it on Channel 4 with advertisements, and seen a USA release which had cuts and jumps in the climatic scene yet, this release has been taken from a print with excellent sound and picture quality. It is truly a treat to view and at the price asked should be grabbed with both hands before exiting stage right twirling ones moustache and cackling with fiendish glee......
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on 14 October 2011
having actually been in corders house many years ago prompted my purchase of this film. It takes liberty's with the true story and although the cover picture shows strangulation the film shows corder incorrectly shooting miss marten who was not a farmers daughter but a mole catchers daughter much further down the social scale. Never the less the film was an intersting study of early british thrillers and the film quality was good. It was said the leading man tod slaughter who played the part of corder was reviled in public because of this and other villains he played.
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VINE VOICEon 18 November 2009
Tod Slaughter's first barn-storming performance of what would become a series of movies that were 'melodramatic' and 'over-the-top' in nature (but great) that he was to make and to become famous for throughout the 1930s.

'Maria Marten' (or 'The Murder In The Red Barn) is the story of a Squire (Slaughter) who lusts after the attentions of a beautiful young woman (Maria), but is held back from its potential by the lack of money. Subsequently, The Squire is forced to choose another, and wed a less desirable old spinster, and then to rid himself of the subject of his earlier attentions. He's thwarted of course by the very young and handsome Eric Portman who plays a gypsy.

Great movie!
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on 29 July 2016
This dvd was in excellent condition thank you
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on 13 November 2011
I got this last year for a Christmas present for my mum as she likes this sort of true crime. she knew a lot about the red barn murder but she was disappointed with this dvd. we knew it was in black and white and we knew it was an old film but still this did have some Shockley wrong points in the film which stuck out like a saw thumb.
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