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A clever fortune-hunter with a penchant for murder does in his elderly, supposedly rich, wife and manages to get away with it. After an investigation results in a decision of 'accidental death', our crafty killer discovers that his late wife's 'fortune' is not what he thought it was. Driven to find another unsuspecting spouse; he discovers that his new bride, a widow, is no fool. When she tells him that she intends to keep her accounts separate from his, he is driven to contemplate murder once again. Written by
Interesting. Until reading these comments, I hadn't realized that this originally was a play in which the lead woman had a dual role - that of victim and nemesis. Interesting because a 1970's "Thriller" episode, "Coffin for the Bride" starring Helen Mirren reminded me very much of this film, "Cast a Dark Shadow" - except that in this case, the star is the male character, and in "Coffin," the star, of course, is Mirren. Nevertheless, "Coffin" seems to have had its roots in this work, and now that I know about the play, the two works resemble one another even more.
The film concerns a younger man married to an older woman who meets her demise earlier than planned due to the fact that, while drunk, her husband misinterprets her intentions regarding a new will. He thinks he's about to be cut out, when in fact, she wants her new will to disinherit her sister and give him even more. He finds out his mistake too late. Never one to dwell on the past, he very soon picks up with a wealthy widow, but though she's in love with him and marries him, she has his number and he can't get his way with her money. Frustrated, he picks up with an attractive, sympathetic, and - need it be said - monied woman looking for real estate in the area.
There are some wonderful performances in this film. Dirk Bogarde is a very attractive, if a somewhat obvious slimeball, in a role that has gay overtones with his love of muscle magazines. The real star role belongs to Margaret Lockwood as his lower class wife. She's fantastic with her overly made up face, the cigarette dangling from her hand, her crass voice and her loud laugh. Can this be the sweet young thing of "The Lady Vanishes?" Others in the cast are Mona Washbourne as Bogarde's victim, Robert Flemyng as her suspicious lawyer, Kay Walsh as Bogarde's next target, and Elizabeth Harrison as the maid, who gives a totally believable performance while staying in the background.
Unfortunately I guessed the entire plot, including the twist ending, having figured out early on that it was like "Coffin for the Bride." However, if you lack that knowledge, you will probably enjoy it even more.
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