The real Red Barn, where Maria Marten was murdered in 1828 is in the village of Polstead, Suffolk, UK. Baroness Rendell of Babergh lives there now; she is better known as crime writer Ruth Rendell . See more »
This fourth film to tell the story of Squire William Corder, a real life Bristish aristo who thought himself above the law.is a good example of late silent British film-making, and is somewhat better cinematically than the more famous version.
This is a period of British film history whose films (excepting Hitchcock's) are rarely revived, and that's a shame. For, in an era before Sound and the Quota Quickie law caused a drastic drop in budgets, Maria Marten is both an atmospheric and well produced example of an industry capable of producing worthwhile movies.
Whilst somewhat stagy in places, Warwick Ward gives a restrained and convincing performance as the cold and haughty Corder and most of the other acting is of similar quality with the exception of Maria's father, who indulges in some over emphatic thigh slapping in his impersonation of a country type.
Without the juicy ham of Slaughter on display, the social criticism behind the melodrama is much more prominent. The murder scene and it's aftermath are well presented, though the 9.5mm print I saw isn't in the best shape at this point. Also the shooting of the gypsy, for nothing other than arguing with the squire, is presented in a remarkably casual way.
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