Olivia Harwood, missionary's widow, meets charming Mark Bellis, artist and rogue, on the ship taking them both back to 1890s London. When Olivia opens a lodging house Mark becomes her ...
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Joseph H. Lewis
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Olivia Harwood, missionary's widow, meets charming Mark Bellis, artist and rogue, on the ship taking them both back to 1890s London. When Olivia opens a lodging house Mark becomes her lodger, then her lover. Olivia falls so completely under amoral Mark's spell that he's able to overcome her scruples, and soon she's his willing tool in an ambitious scheme of theft and blackmail...maybe too ambitious. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. Its earliest documented telecast took place in Milwaukee Thursday 7 May 1959 on WITI (Channel 6), followed by St. Louis 17 September 1959 on KMOX (Channel 4), and by Phoenix 27 November 1959 on KVAR (Channel 12). It was released on DVD 15 November 2016 as part of the Universal Vault Series. See more »
Oh, Mark! You say things so prettily. But I never quite know what's going on inside your head.
One day I'll tell you. You may not like it.
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"This is a true story... one of the strangest chapters in the annals of crime. Its characters lived more than fifty years ago... the leading figures in a passionate game of love and murder. It began on a sailing vessel homeward bound from the West Indies for Liverpool..." See more »
This is an excellent film on the very dark theme of the corruption of a woman's moral position as a result of her love for a congenital criminal. The film is so well made that you can practically see the virus spreading from him to her, especially as the woman is played by that sensitive and brilliant actress, Ann Todd, who had the talent for registering micro-emotions on her pale face as if it were a galvanometer. The story is based on a novel by that strangely elusive woman Gabrielle Campbell aka Gabrielle Margaret Vere Long, aka many other names, but here writing under the pseudonym of 'Joseph Shearing'. The next year, Hitchcock used one of her Shearing novels as the basis for his film UNDER CAPRICORN (1949), and the year before this, a superb film called MOSS ROSE (1947, see my forthcoming review) was made from another. The villain in this film, who is an oily charmer, is played by Ray Milland. Possibly because in real life Milland was an obsessive scrooge, he is here particularly convincing as a man manically obsessed by money. As he tempts Ann Todd down from her throne of grace as the widow of a missionary, and slowly but surely corrupts her, principle by principle, his eyes glint eerily with the evil of the title. Geraldine Fitzgerald is magnificent as the neurotic innocent, Todd's old schoolfriend, whose money and jewels are stolen by Todd on orders from Milland. Fitzgerald's crazed and sadistic control-freak husband is chillingly played by Raymond Huntley, and is no more admirable than the character played by Milland. The authoress must have known some very unpleasant men in order to portray their bad sides so convincingly! The film is excellently directed by Lewis Allen, who had directed Milland previously in THE UNINVITED (1944, see my review), and in the same year made that wonderfully charming film OUR HEARTS WERE YOUNG AND GAY (1944). In 1945, Lewis failed to deliver and made an inferior mystery film called THE UNSEEN (see my review), in which the delicate talents of that rare flower, Gail Russell, were unfortunately wasted. In 1954, Lewis directed the well-known and terrifying film SUDDENLY with Frank Sinatra and Sterling Hayden. This film shows the slow but sure disintegration of the entire moral infrastructure of a human being so convincingly, that there never was a better lesson in the dangers of keeping bad company. And the ending of the film cannot fail to make the hair rise on the backs of all necks, but by the IMDb rules I cannot say more about it. This film is certainly worth watching, both as a moral lesson and as a profound film noir of the deepest hue.
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