In a 15th-century feudal village, a woman is accused of witchcraft and put to death. Her beautiful older daughter knows the real reason for the execution lies in the lord's sexual desire ... See full summary »
Adapted from a play that was based on a real-life murder case from 1827, although the play (and film) presented a highly sensationalized and sentimental version of the story. The real Maria Marten was hardly the innocent, virginal young thing as seen here; by the time of her murder she had already borne two children out of wedlock and was notoriously free with her affections. She had also had a child by Corder (with whom she was having a consensual affair), which either died or was murdered. (The character of her other "good" lover is a complete fiction.) Marten's stepmother claimed to have dreams where Maria's ghost led her to the spot where her body was later found; later researchers have speculated that the stepmother (only a few years older than Maria) was an accomplice to the murder. Corder was the same age group as Maria; the Victorian melodramas made him into an older man and very much a stereotypical upper-crust villain. Much was written about it at the time and fascination with the case continued well into the 20th century. See more »
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!
See more »
Compact, entertaining thriller concerning a pompous aristocrat who, following a brief moment of ecstasy with an impressionable young farmer's girl, discovers he's responsible for an unwanted foetus. Tod Slaughter plays the immoral Mr Corder, under financial pressure due to gambling, being threatened by his dalliance now up the duff and in the mood to tell all to her father, who'll surely kill Corder for sullying the family name. What to do but a murder in the red barn.
Well told, straightforward without complications or surprises, just a decent little tale (based on a true event) that showcases stage actor Slaughter's adept villainy, and that of younger Eric Portman in one of his first pictures as the chivalrous Gypsy enamoured by Sophie Stewart's damsel in distress. The cast is immaculate and the inimitable producer George King delivers his usual pint-for-a-pound pulling no punches despite limited resources.
While it's 1935, there's no disguising the atrocious nature of the title crime, and this element along with Slaughter's portrayal of the corpulent, depraved and cowardly ogre is more than just a little unsettling at times. The scene in which he's goaded to "dig, dig" is quite chilling, and the conclusion thereafter is entirely fitting. Worth a look.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?