Three Cases of Murder DVD
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Directed by George More O'Ferrall, Wendy Toye, David Eady
Produced in 1951; 1955
Main Language - English
This long-unseen portmanteau film of three bizarre and macabre tales can justifiably take its place alongside Dead of Night as a great British chiller. Film lovers are in for a treat, says Nick Riddle.
Released a decade after Ealing’s celebrated Dead of Night, this more obscure example of the British ‘chiller omnibus’ film presents three tales of dark deeds:
‘In the Picture’, a phantasmagorical yarn about a haunted painting; ‘You Killed Elizabeth’, concerning a friendship that goes murderously sour over a woman; and ‘Lord Mountdrago’, in which Orson Welles plays a pompous cabinet minister pursued in his dreams by a political rival.
Welles got top billing, of course, and he’s brilliant, but there’s much more to appreciate here: Alan Badel, for example, a wiry, intense actor who appears in all three stories and makes one wonder why he isn’t better remembered. Then there’s the direction of the first segment by Wendy Toye (one of the very few British women directors at the time, who died earlier this year), which has enormous, expressionistic fun with camera tilts; and the linking scenes that feature a pre-This Is Your Life Eamonn Andrews.
And keep an eye out for Lord Mountdrago’s psychiatrist, played by André Morell, who shortly thereafter took the lead role in another classic British chiller - Quatermass and the Pit.
Nick Riddle on 27th September 2010
Author of 62 reviews
Unseen for many years, Three Cases of Murder and Return To Glennascaul are a treat for lovers of British film. The main feature is an excellent portmanteau in which the viewers imagination is challenged by the bizarre and macabre. A notable supporting cast of British actors includes John Gregson, Elizabeth Sellars, Andre Morell, Hugh Pryse, Eddie Byrne and the constant in all three shorts, Alan Badel.
The Picture recounts the story of a captivating painting in a museum whose inhabitants include the original artist who never quite finished his painting before his death; In You Killed Elizabeth a man who is prone to blackouts believes that he has killed his fiancee in a blind rage ... but truth is stranger than fiction, while the final story sees Orson Welles as the pompous Home Secretary, Lord Mountdrago, who completely humiliates Owen, a Welsh firebrand, in the House of Commons. Owen swears to get even, and whenever Mountdrago falls asleep his dreams turn to nightmares.
The bonus feature on this DVD is Orson Welles' ghost story, Return To Glennascaul, which Welles made during a break in the filming of Othello. Welles stars as himself, who, while driving home from the studio one foggy evening, offers a lift to an Irishman who recounts a ghostly Irish tale.
Publisher: Odeon Entertainment
Length: 93 mins
Cat No: ODNF185
Format: DVD B&W
- Short Film: Orson Welles' Return to Glennascaul (1951).