1952 Crime mystery
One of the better films from Margaret Lockwood's career in the '50s which saw her popularity at the UK box office fall sharply from the heady days of the '40s.
EC Bentley's diverting detective story story was the prototype for the modern whodunnit. Michael Wilding stars as the shewrd sleuth of the title investigating the suspicious death of tycoon Orson Welles, who, in just a few flashbacks, masterfully creates a victim who was simply begging to be bumped off.
Herbert Wilcox sprinkles the clues and red herrings with a steady if unspectacular hand. Wilding was never the greatest of actors and here he is ok. Imagine Dick Powell on valium and your half way there. Orson Welles is great in parts but in others, well, don't even go there. I've never been to Planet Orson so I can't say the reasoning behind some of his performance but he does suffer from not having a stronger director than Wilcox.
John McCallum is good but Lockwood is better, holding the whole thing together and shielding it from the threat of Welles dumping all over it.
Watch out for his false nose Orson used. It really serves its own credit in the cast list.
The body of Manderson, fabulous American financial tycoon is found in the grounds of his Hampshire mansion, shot neatly in the left eye by a revolver that he had given his English secretary John Marlowe. The coroner’s verdict is suicide but Phillip Treat – famed painter, newspaper reporter but above all: crime investigator - is uneasy. Sent down to cover the story, he soon concludes that Marlowe in fact killed Manderson, until a confrontation with the secretary at Manderson’s widow’s request soon reveals an amazing twist in the mystery… Starring the incomparable Orson Welles.
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