When Secret Service agent David Somers is fired, he takes a quiet job with the Fentons at their country estate - cataloging butterflies, hence the title insect. David grows fond of Jess ...
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When Secret Service agent David Somers is fired, he takes a quiet job with the Fentons at their country estate - cataloging butterflies, hence the title insect. David grows fond of Jess Fenton's niece, a fragile, fey young woman named Sophie. Because he hates traps of any kind, he reacts quickly when Sophie is framed for the murder of Hick, the nasty handyman. He helps her escape London by using his agent's skills and a network of old friends. The pair lead the police and David's ex-employers an exciting chase, from Newcastle to the Lake District to Liverpool. As the fugitives try to catch a ship for France, everyone, including the murderer, join in the finale. Written by
Mike Rogers <MICHAELPEM.@aol.com>
Sort of paint-by-numbers Hitchcock. But still, it probably comes closer to the style of the master than any other pretender with the exception of "Niagara".
Hitch always liked a story with some odd eccentricities to the plot. This story has a butterfly collector, a taxidermist, and some shady Chinese Liverpudlians.
But you can tell it's not Hitch easily enough. I believe it's the pacing, which never reaches a nail-biting pitch of intensity -- more like nail-drumming. I hope someone more astute than I will analyse precisely what marks this film as ultimately un-Hitchcock.
The film's ending is very abrupt and more than a little unsatisfying, with the loose ends being tied up in a slip knot.
An important element in many a great Hitchcock film is the pursuit sequence through imaginative locations. At least we are not disappointed in that respect. Besides Liverpool, our hero and heroine are hunted through night-time Newcastle which is made to resemble Vienna in an earlier Trevor Howard film, "The Third Man". Some of the best chase scenes take place among the hills, lakes, and waterfalls of the English Switzerland -- the Lake District, at that time in Cumberland (hence the name of the bus line) and Westmorland.
Our beautiful English Swiss Miss, Jean Simmons, seems to be more voluptuous here than she would be later in her career, but perhaps I'm mistaken.
The film's mysterious title refers to a variety of butterfly found in a meadow near the collector's house.
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