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The Devil's Widow (1970)

The Ballad of Tam Lin (original title)
PG-13 | | Horror | September 1972 (USA)
Based on an ancient Scottish folk song, an older woman uses witchcraft to keep her young jet-set friends.

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(original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Michaela Cazaret
...
Tom Lynn
Richard Wattis ...
Elroy
...
Vicar Julian Ainsley
...
Janet Ainsley
David Whitman ...
Oliver
...
Miss Gibson
...
Rose (as Sinead Cusack)
...
Georgia
Jenny Hanley ...
Caroline
Madeline Smith ...
Sue
...
Alan
Victoria Fairbrother ...
Vanna (as Pamela Farbrother)
Rosemary Blake ...
Kate
Michael Bills ...
Michael
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Storyline

Based on the ancient Scottish ballad "Tam Lin" (one of it's many titles), the plot concerns an aging, beautiful woman who uses her wealth (and occasionally, witchcraft) to control a decadent pack of attractive young people she surrounds herself with. But when her latest young stud falls for the local vicar's daughter, she vows revenge. Written by phillindholm

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

the story of a kind of woman few people even exist... See more »

Genres:

Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexuality/nudity, thematic elements, violence and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

September 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Widow  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the only film directed by Roddy McDowall. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

The Best Part of You
Written by Bert Jansch, Jacqui McShee, Terry Cox, John Renbourn and Danny Thompson
Performed by Pentangle
See more »

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User Reviews

 
She Drained Them Of Their Manhood--And Then Of Their Lives!
26 May 2006 | by See all my reviews

That's the tag-line American International Pictures used to exploit this fantasy/horror film. Based on the ancient Scottish ballad "Tam Lin" (one of it's many titles), the plot concerns an aging, beautiful woman Ava Gardner) who uses her wealth (and occasionally, witchcraft) to control a decadent pack of attractive young people she surrounds herself with. But when her latest young stud (Ian McShane) falls for the local vicar's daughter (Stephanie Beacham), she vows revenge. The plot is fairly simple, though first (and last) time director Roddy McDowall does his best to insert as much ambiguity and mysticism as he can get away with. More of a fairy-tale allegory than a terror film, it was completed in late 1969, but ended up on the shelf when it's production company, Commonwealth United, went bankrupt. Three years later, along came AIP, who bought it and edited it over McDowall's protests. Devising a typically lurid advertising campaign, they exploited it as one of those "aging glamour star horror films" so popular in the 60s. Dubbing it "The Devils Widow", it was spottily released in grind houses and drive-ins in late 1972, after which it promptly vanished. It did occasionally play on television, which is where I caught it, before landing on video back in the late 90's. Althoug it's not a "class" film, by any means, it deserved better treatment than this. The still-beautiful Gardner gives a striking, believably cruel performance, and the supporting cast includes several familiar faces who got their start here. Besides those already mentioned, Joanna Lumley ("The Avengers", "Absolutely Fabulous") is very much in evidence. The production is handsome, the photography well above average, and the movie improves as it goes along. Worth seeing, especially for Ava Gardner.


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