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William A. Seiter
Country squire Henry Maurier is patient with his wife Emily, a neurotic invalid, but her brother surprises Henry with his young mistress Doris. The same night, Emily dies of her chronic heart disease, and Henry promptly marries Doris, to the chagrin of neighbor Janet Spence, who loves him. When a post-mortem shows that Emily's death was precipitated by arsenic, Henry is placed on trial for his life. But is he guilty? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The very annoying Emily (Rachel Kempson) is not in good health. Thankfully, she dies. However, her death is treated suspiciously and number one suspect is husband Henry (Charles Boyer). He doesn't help matters by immediately marrying 18 year old Doris (Ann Blyth) who he has been having an affair with for a few months.
This film has a good cast, especially Jessica Tandy as Henry's friend "Janet", Cedric Hardwick as "Dr Libbard" and Mildred Natwick as "Nurse Braddock". Boyer is good but Blyth is very irritating in a Shirley Temple kind of way. The film drags whenever she is on screen.
The film has many good scenes, eg, when Janet and Henry are in the house sheltering from a violent storm - the use of German Expressionism in this scene (the use of darkness and lightning) will tell you all you need to know. Similarly, another good scene is when Janet visits Henry the day before his execution (the way the scene is framed will stick in your mind). And the scenes between Janet and Dr Libbard towards the end of the film are crammed with tension. I found that the film also had a particularly good moment of philosophical dialogue when Henry verbalized his acceptance of death to Doris.
You will, no doubt, guess who the guilty party is from the beginning but it's still a good film to watch again.
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