Learn more Download now Browse your favorite restaurants Shop now Shop now flip flip flip Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more



on 2 March 2018
What a film! For an oldie it's surprisingly frightening. Psychological thriller with none of the modern day gore.
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 18 May 2016
Good
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 17 June 2016
A classic old movie very suspenseful excellent quality picture
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 11 October 2014
Chilling and haunting
|0Comment|Report abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 January 2016
Documentary-maker, writer and director Thorold Dickinson’s output was relatively sparse over his short career, but this 1940 psychological thriller, based on the play of the same name by Patrick Hamilton, certainly demonstrates the cinematic flair of the man. It is inevitable (well, for me, anyway) that Dickinson’s film should draw comparison with Hitchcock and Gaslight’s tale of (the superb) Anton Walbrook’s duplicitous husband, Paul Mallen, and his attempts to drive his wife, Diana Wynyard’s Bella, to the point of insanity (for his own mercenary reasons) called to my mind the likes of Rebecca and Notorious, as well as (in terms of the film’s look and feel), films from Hitch’s British period such as Sabotage and (even) The Lodger. And, although the film was no doubt made for a pittance, Dickinson and cinematographer Bernard Knowles do a great job evoking the film’s claustrophobic, misty, late 19th century London feel, which is complemented impressively by Richard Addinsell’s variously eerie, sweeping and dramatic score.

Key to the film’s increasingly disturbing mood, however, is Walbrook’s turn as the alternately haughty, playful, mysterious, seductive, possessive and increasingly volatile and cruel anti-hero, whose coercion of his 'beloved’ (as they return to the Pimlico house where twenty years earlier a murder and attempted robbery took place) is brilliantly depicted. Walbrook has delivered some brilliantly sympathetic turns in his time (perhaps most notably that in Powell and Pressburger’s The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp), but here he is more akin to his (similarly domineering) Boris Lermontov in the same film-makers’ The Red Shoes. Dickinson’s film is far from a one-man show, however, and Wynyard delivers her 'Joan Fontaine-like’ turn impressively, whilst Frank Pettingell is also particularly good as the ex-copper, now amateur sleuth, Rough, whose suspicions around Mallen’s past connection with the Pimlico residence are aroused.

Dickinson’s talent for cinematic symbolism is also to the fore via the use of the titular source of light as a plot driver, denoting both Bella’s increasingly fragile state of mind and Paul’s nefarious activities. Similarly, the film-maker sets up the film’s 'cockney backdrop’ nicely via Cathleen Cordell’s turn as the 'down-to-earth’ (and flirtatious) maid, Nancy, and the sequences depicting street Punch and Judy and music hall French can-can. There is also a highly effective sequence depicting Paul’s cruelty and highlighting Bella’s frailty during a piano recital.

I must admit to not having seen the Hollywood version (made 4 years later) of the film which, given its cast, must be worth a look, but I doubt it can surpass Walbrook’s great performance here.

The excellent BFI remastered Dual Format release also contains a 32-page booklet on the film, plus a number of Dickinson’s documentary shorts.
2 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 19 May 2014
Magnificent example of filmaking and suspense. All players are excellent (specially Walbrook, Wynyard & Pettinger). The direction by Thorold Dickinson is superb. The art direction, edition, music, sound, and cinematography is excellent too. Very good adaptation of the play. BFI's restoration is very good if not exceptional. Vastly superior to the MGM remake. The american version is good but this is a classic. This film deserves more recognition for film classic buffs. I recommend it strongly!
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 27 April 2015
A great film this British version benefits from not having the glossy MGM treatment that Hollywood gave the same plot - and script - in 1944.

The extras are interesting (if rather self consciously worthy) documentaries about the Spanish Civil War. The commentary of these is slow and ponderous, and they hardly count as masterpieces.
2 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 19 January 2016
Try this instead of the later Hollywood version, far superior at getting the awful creepiness of Bella's fate, in my opinion.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 23 March 2016
Rather overshadowed by the Hollywood remake, unfairly in my opinion. Terrific Gothic atmosphere.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 21 December 2015
Great price and fast delivery. Tip top.
|0Comment|Report abuse