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Mary Herries has a passion for art and fine furniture. Even though she is getting on in years, she enjoys being around these priceless articles. One day she meets a strange young painter named Elcott, who uses his painting skill to enter into her life. Little does she expect that his only interest in Mary is to covet everything she has. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A kindly old dowager takes a penniless artist into her lavish household, only to find out he's got his own plans.
For a filmed stage play, the movie surprisingly never drags. That's a tribute to a tight screenplay and excellent staging. For example, catch how director Sturges in the first confrontation scene positions the four intruders in the foreground so they appear now to loom over the exasperated old lady (Barrymore), symbolizing their gradual reversal of authority. Then too, Sturges has basically only a single set to dramatize with, a real staging challenge.
However, the movie really belongs to the mild-looking Evans (Elcott) who manages an effortless study in civilized evil. His manipulations are so understated that his malignant nature sort of creeps up on you. It's one of the slyer incarnations in the history of bad guys. And get a load of the Edwards family, with the shrill Lansbury, the hulking Wynn, and the bratty Aggie. They're household help from heck, and we know Barrymore's in big trouble when this British version of The Beverly Hillbillies walk in the door.
Anyway, the tension stays on high as we feel trapped along with the kind lady. All in all, the movie's a minor gem of claustrophobic suspense.
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