Footsteps in the Fog DVD
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Directed by Arthur Lubin
Produced in 1955
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
Featuring blackmail, double-crossing and murder most foul, the plot of Footsteps in the Fog could have come straight out of a film noir. It is a pleasing paradox then that the film is shot in vibrant Technicolor, set in Victorian Britain rather than contemporary America, and it is the homme, rather than the femme, who is the more fatale. After poisoning his wife, the master of the house (Stewart Granger) is blackmailed by his maid (Jean Simmons), who demands promotion. As she steadily takes the place of his deceased wife, he again attempts murder, with disastrous results.
This neglected film offers wicked fun throughout, as the machinations spiral increasingly out of control. At first the two protagonists seem radically different – he a caddish rake, she a girlish servant. Yet as the plot thickens, it becomes clear that they are made for one another – both seek social advancement (the film subtly attacks the class system); both value power, and both will stop at nothing to get what they want. Granger and Simmons were a married couple at the time, and their scenes together are perversely touching, even as they seek to outwit one another.
The bravura murder sequence, in which Granger chases Simmons through the fog, is a classic, invoking the era of Jack The Ripper. Almost everyone in the film is out for personal gain – only one character (a lovesick lawyer) is motivated entirely by his conscience, but in this netherworld of ill morals he is the least empathetic character. Small wonder his beloved is more attracted to the wicked, charismatic Granger.
Granger has never been better, whilst Simmons delivers another superb performance as one of the most sweetly innocent femme fatales of the big screen, recalling her role in Angel Face. The scene where she switches from victim to ruthless avenger when she usurps the power of the loathed housekeeper is brilliantly played. Great credit is due, too, to US director Arthur Lubin, who recreates the eerie ambiance of Victorian Britain without resorting to an Americanised, clichéd vision. The film also pulls no punches with its blissfully ironic ending – but will the wrongdoers meet their comeuppance?
Alex Davidson on 1st November 2008
Author of 236 reviews
Victorian-set thriller melodrama in which a maid knows that her master poisoned his wife - and uses the knowledge to improve her station. Then he decides that he wants her out of the way too... Granger and Simmons excel.
Publisher: Sony Pictures
Length: 86 mins
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Format: DVD Colour
Region: 2, 4
Released: 1st December 2008
Cat No: CDR26528
Subtitles: English HOH
by Kevin Gotobed on 30th October 2008
Real-life husband and wife team Stewart Granger and Jean Simmons give career-best performances as an outwardly respectable wife-poisoner and the scheming housemaid who... Read on
Real-life husband and wife team Stewart Granger and Jean Simmons give career-best performances as an outwardly respectable wife-poisoner and the scheming housemaid who’s rumbled him. Her hopes of using the information to blackmail her way into her master’s affections conflict with his own plans of a profitable second marriage, triggering a lethal game of cat-and-mouse. As insidiously plotted as a Mamet con, the film offers a coolly cynical take on class and sexual politics that has the viewer wishing the two leads a deadly-ever-after in a hell as sumptuously oppressive as the one they’ve made for themselves in a permanently fogbound London square Hide