In 1848, a young Frenchwoman, Madeline Minot, goes to New York City to see Thevenet, the grandfather of her fiance. Thevenet had been with Napoleon and may be sympathetic to the political ... See full summary »
In 1848, a young Frenchwoman, Madeline Minot, goes to New York City to see Thevenet, the grandfather of her fiance. Thevenet had been with Napoleon and may be sympathetic to the political aims of his grandson. She finds the old man in very bad spirits, living in a large house with a housekeeper and a butler who are just waiting for him to die (and perhaps helping him along a bit) so they can inherit his fortune. They see Madeline as a threat to their plans. She is aided in her dealings with these strange people by a mysterious man in a cloak. Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
After the first meeting with Madeleine, Charles Theverner addresses his pet raven named Villon, after the French poet François Villon, and quotes from Villon's "Ballade des dames du temps jadis" ("Ballad of the Ladies of Times Past"): "Où sont les neiges d'antant?" ("Oh, where are the snows of yesteryear!"). Later, Dupin quotes the same Ballad in English. He also reads from the book a few lines of Edgar Poe's "The Raven." See more »
Thank goodness for TCM, because every once in a while we catch a forgotten gem not yet available on DVD, and this is one of those. Sure it's a somewhat lightweight film, but it has its heavy moments, and sometimes you don't feel like watching "War and Peace," you just want something entertaining and substantive enough to keep you watching. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
The setting in 1848 New York was interesting. I like stories with time periods and settings not usually thought of. When you mention the 1800s most Americans are thinking cowboys and Indians and the Old West, or else the Civil War. Yet there were whole regions and eras in our country's history not usually covered that surely are brimming with stories.
Some have criticized the movie for its stilted dialog, but hey, that's the way upper crust people talked back then. Just try reading a book written in 1848 by a more cultured author, and you'll see what I mean. I found it interesting to listen to. The cast was great, too. I have never thought of Joseph Cotten as a particularly handsome actor, but that mustache made him look rather dashing! He should have worn it more often. And then there's Jim Backus... Ususally stereotyped as Mr. Magoo or Thurston Howell III, here he showed us his depth as an actor by making the serious character of Flaherty seem so real and natural.
There's a murder in this mystery, but it's not at all what you would think. There are several plot twists that. while not spectacular, are still suspenseful and entertaining. You may or may not be caught by surprise by the revelation at the end, but many viewers will be. I highly recommend this film and hope it is soon available on DVD.
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