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A series of poison pen letters roils a small Canadian town.
Boyer and Darnell get top billing, but Rennie gets the screen time and uses it to memorable effect. His aloof Dr. Pearson is a fascinating portrait in guarded emotions. There's one scene where his steely reserve is topped. Catch the old lady, mother of the dead lad, as she brandishes a nasty looking razor while Pearson looks on, hoping it's not meant for him. It's deliciously played.
The movie's a good noirish mystery, benefiting from the Quebec locations, especially during the impressive funeral scene. This was during TCF's neo-realist period when actual locations were widely used. Then too, the French setting lends a kind of exotic air that boosts the unusual poison pen premise.
At first Darnell's role looks like one of her sexually aggressive type-casts, but then the screenplay does an effective job at winning our sympathy. At the same time, I'm impressed with the strikingly pretty Constance Smith holding up so well during director Preminger's extended hospital scene. There's not much info about her or her brief career. Too bad, she certainly had the chopsliterally and figurativelyfor a starring career. Took me awhile to identify Boyer as the aging doctor and a long way from his usual dashing leading man (sans toupee). After reading his bio, I expect he enjoyed this departure.
Anyway, the solution is rather complex and something of a stretch, for me at least. Nonetheless, the cast and the production carry it off, making for a very watchable 90- minutes.
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