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It's Never Too Late to Mend (1937)

 |  Drama  |  March 1937 (UK)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 140 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 1 critic

An evil prison administrator cruelly abuses the inmates at his prison, until one day the tables are turned.

Director:

(as David Macdonald)

Writers:

(dialogue), (script), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Tod Slaughter ...
Jack Livesey ...
Marjorie Taylor ...
Ian Colin ...
Laurence Hanray ...
Lawyer Crawley (as Lawrence Hanray)
D.J. Williams ...
Roy Russell ...
Rev. Mr. Eden
John Singer ...
Matthew Josephs (as Johnny Singer)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cecil Bevan ...
Prison Inspector
Douglas Stewart ...
Prison Inspector
Mavis Villiers ...
Betty
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Storyline

An evil prison administrator cruelly abuses the inmates at his prison, until one day the tables are turned.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

March 1937 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Never Too Late  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Visatone Marconi)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Featured in Doom Asylum (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 1
(uncredited)
Music by Franz Schubert
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User Reviews

 
Tod has a whip-round
10 February 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

ITS NEVER TO LATE TO MEND is the most traditional of Tod's revived melodramas. It has all the elements and archetypes we expect from the genre. Tod is his usual villainous Squire self. His often comical facial features are better suited to being bewhiskered and having a bushy moustache to twiddle menacingly. As ever, he has his lecherous eye on a virtuous local maiden - Susan, daughter of Farmer Merton. She seeks the penurious local tenant farmer George Fielding (Meadows, Fielding, a slimy solicitor who aid's Tod's schemes called Crawley - the names are not exactly subtle). Tod must be the only wealthy bastard in cinema who never attracts women! But after a failed attempt to convict George for poaching, the young man leaves the country to seek his fortune Down Under. The opening titles reveal Charles Reade's and Queen Victoria's roles in prison reform and it is in the scenes where Tod visits the local gaol in his capacity of Justice of the Peace that we get to enjoy the full magnitude of his hammy villainy. His inspection of the ranks of his "naughty children" and his mocking remarks are a sadistic joy and one can imagine the audience at the Elephant and Castle theatre chuckling along as he speaks. Black comedy is also present in the Uriah Heep-like performance of one convict who makes a great show of demonstrating his penitence but, we see later, has stolen something from the Governor's office. However, the treatment of the 15-year old convict is genuinely disturbing as is John Singer's anguished breakdown.

The tension is diffused by the lack of a strong protagonist for the Squire. George Fielding is sidelined in Australia for the bulk of the narrative - returning only for the climax. The Prison Chaplain provides only token resistance to Tod's reign of terror at the gaol but appears like the 7th cavalry at the end. The main adversary is local poacher Tom Robinson - gallantly taking the blame instead of George for Tod's trumped-up poaching charge. Tom's decline from the jaunty, confident rogue of the opening scenes to a shell of his former self in prison is quite chilling, but the spiritual comfort the Chaplain lends him means a reversion to his old self.

Tom thwarts Meadows' attempts to steal George's newfound fortune. As with MARIA MARTEN, Tod has an alarming tendency to go insane at the inopportune moments - usually while holding his enemies at gunpoint as occurs here at the climax His raving madness as he is led away is genuinely alarming and the closing shot is of him relentlessly repeating the films's title as he works away on the "wheel".


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