Cast a Dark Shadow
About This Dvd. Buy Dvd Margaret Lockwood Dirk Bogarde Search Site
The Late Edwina Black
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We are based in South London near Croydon, UK, and if preferred this item can be picked up by appointment. Just e-mail here. I also welcome the old fashioned cheque and po as it is cheaper to process and all orders are sent off same day as cheque received.
- Format: DVD
- Regions: 2+4 (UK, Europe & Australia)
- Display Format: Full Screen
- Condition: New
- Genre: Thrillers
- I had to search high & low to find a Cast a Dark Shadow release on any format, whether it be Dvd or video. This was all I could find. It's the Australian release which will play on UK & Europe Dvd players and comes with a 2nd British film and equally hard to to find The Late Edwina Black.
For the life of me I don't understand why Cast a Dark Shadow hasn't been released in the UK. Made in 1955, black & white with a British film-noir B-movie-type feel about it, this atmospheric little film features not just 2 of the biggest British stars of their day, Margaret Lockwood
and Dirk Bogarde
but a strong supporting cast as well, particularly Kay Walsh
and Mona Washbourne. Furthermore it is directed by Lewis Gilbert no less, who, of course, went on to direct Reach for the Sky the following year and whose CV includes Carve Her Name with Pride and Educating Rita.
Cast a Dark Shadow (1955)
The plot is of an evil con artist (Bogarde trying to do 'tough' as only Bogarde could do - hilarious) with a penchant for murder, does in his elderly, supposedly rich, wife (Mona Washbourne) and manages to get away with it. After an investigation results in a decision of 'accidental death', our crafty killer discovers that his late wife's 'fortune' is not what he thought it was. Driven to find another unsuspecting spouse; he discovers that his new bride (Lockwood), a widow, is no fool. When she tells him that she intends to keep her accounts separate from his, he is driven to contemplate murder once again.
I came to this film really as a Margaret Lockwood fan. I kind of see the film as a bookend in her career with the other being The Lady Vanishes, made nearly 20 years before. Sure, Cast a Dark Shadow was only her penultimate film but she did slip into TV & stage-work for 20 years after this before her final film The Slipper and The Rose. Cast came on the back of her declining popularity in the UK not helped by roles in disappointing films like Trouble in the Glen (1954) and Trent's Last Case (1952). Watching this, it is hard believe that it is the same person as the sweet pretty young woman of The Lady Vanishes! She is the complete opposite here and boy, what a performance! Her hardened widow (Mrs Jeffries) is a tour de force, certainly one of her best roles. We are talking about Wicked Lady on speed here! Her initial cold financial calculations where she can measure everything in life within the pages of a bank statement are truly frightening. But my how believable she is. She is so good that in her scenes with Bogarde she acts him almost off the screen, until he is but an irritating little fly you wish she would just swot and put out of his misery. What a woman!
The supporting cast is good as well. Kay Walsh was always an underrated actress in my book outside of her work with her former husband David Lean. Here, as the sister of the dead woman she works well with the little she has and is believable. Kathleen Harrison and Mona Washbourne are delightful and Robert Flemyng's hatred of Bogarde is palpable.
What stops this film from being a minor classic is Bogarde. Don't get me wrong: for his fans they will love his performance here. But for me someone like Laurence Harvey could have played the cold con artist a 1000 times better. Can you imagine the electricity between Lockwood and Harvey if they had shared this movie? It could have been used to light up Brighton where little bits of this film were filmed! But alas the film is saddled with Bogarde. For me, I can't think of any other actor from the 1940s and 50s whose work has aged so badly. He might have practised his left sided facial expressions of pain, torment and cunning a 1000 times in front of the mirror (until the right side of his face might as well have been made redundant and told to go home) but they are never believable. Frankly, some of his close-up are unintentionally funny.
His con artist is straight out of a RADA manual - it's acting by numbers.
No matter. Lockwood compensates for Bogarde and makes the movie well worth watching.
The Late Edwina Black (1951)
When a sickly Victorian woman dies suddenly, a postmortem reveals that her body contains a fatal dose of arsenic. Suspicion falls on her husband and her companion, who are lovers. Inspector Martin of Scotland Yard solves the mystery of her death, over a cup of tea.
David Farrar ... Gregory Black
Geraldine Fitzgerald ... Elizabeth Grahame
Roland Culver ... Inspector Martin
Jean Cadell ... Ellen
Mary Merrall ... Lady Southdale
Harcourt Williams ... Doctor Septimus Prendergast
Charles Heslop ... Vicar
Ronald Adam ... Head-Master
Sydney Moncton ... Horace
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(includes UK postage & packaging)
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