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Maria Marten, or The Murder in the Red Barn (1935)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  18 August 1936 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 217 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 3 critic

In 1820's rural England, a young girl is tricked by tales of marriage by a villainous Squire, and when she becomes pregnant, and disappears, a gipsy lad is blamed.

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Title: Maria Marten, or The Murder in the Red Barn (1935)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Tod Slaughter ...
Sophie Stewart ...
D.J. Williams ...
Farmer Thomas Marten
Eric Portman ...
Carlos, the gypsy
Clare Greet ...
Mrs. Marten
Gerard Tyrell ...
Timothy Winterbottom
Ann Trevor ...
Nan, the maid
Stella Rho ...
Gypsy Crone
Dennis Hoey ...
Gambling Winner
Quentin McPhearson ...
Matthew Sennett
Antonia Brough ...
Maud Sennett
Noel Dainton ...
Officer Steele of the Bow Street Runners
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
J. Leslie Frith ...
Lawyer
Herbert Leonard ...
Compere
Lester Sharpe ...
Bandleader Withey
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Storyline

In 1820's rural England, a young girl is tricked by tales of marriage by a villainous Squire, and when she becomes pregnant, and disappears, a gipsy lad is blamed.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sensational! Eerie! Sinister! Weird! The most unusual picture of the year!

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 August 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Murder in the Old Red Barn  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

(Visatone Marconi)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Squire William Corder: Didn't I make you a promise, Maria? I promised to make you a bride. Don't be afraid, Maria. You shall be a bride...a bride of Death!
[laughs maniacally]
See more »

Connections

Version of Maria Marten: or, The Murder at the Red Barn (1902) See more »

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User Reviews

A VICTORIAN MELODRAMATIC FAVORITE
3 November 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Tod Slaughter was able to do one important action as an actor - he put on film a series of the popular "warhorse" melodramas that were the meat and potatos of Victorian theatre way into the 20th Century. He knew these plays and their lead roles by heart, and how the public wanted him to play those villains. And several of the films were based on actual cases.

That is the case with the murder of Maria Marten at the Red Barn in Polstead, England. In 1827 William Corder, the surviving son of a fairly prosperous farmer, had an affair with Maria Marten (the daughter of a mole catcher). She became pregnant, and demanded he do the right thing. After hemming and hawing a bit William agreed to leaving with Maria for their future together. But he insisted she meet him secretly at the Red Barn, and she wear male attire. She did, but she informed her step-mother who watched her head for the Red Barn. Maria was never seen again for the next year. But letters from William, from London, came telling how Maria and he were very happy together.

One day (we are told) Mrs. Marten had a nightmare in which she saw Maria's body in the barn. She insisted her husband look. Mr. Marten did, and in digging up the floor of the barn found Maria's remains. The authorities started looking for Corder, and found he was living in London with a wife, and running a school. He was arrested, brought back to Bury St. Edmunds (the nearest town to Polestead), tried for Maria's murder, and found guilty.

He was executed in 1828.

Did Corder kill Maria? Most criminal historians feel he did, and are impressed at his initial attempt at a perfect crime - but why did it fall apart so easily? However one writer, Donald McCormick, wrote THE RED BARN MYSTERY, and pointed out that there were lots of questionable points in the story. Mrs. Marten's behavior, for instance. Local rumors said she had had an affair with Corder before he turned to Maria. Did the jealous woman suspect Corder's motives about the secrecy and disguise - but if she did, why did she not warn Maria? And if she did why didn't she tell her husband earlier? Did those letters really convince her that Maria was safe, or was her "dream" fake? McCormick suggested a different solution to the murder but it was rather bizaar.

Anyway the film with Slaughter keeps the traditional solution. And he goes to town with it.


11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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