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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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Writer:

(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

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

September 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Widow  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

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

Tam Lin
Written by Bert Jansch, Jacqui McShee, Terry Cox, John Renbourn and Danny Thompson
Performed by the Pentangle
See more »

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User Reviews

A macabre gem
4 January 2001 | by (San Jose, California) – See all my reviews

Based on Robert Burns' version of the Scottish folk tale "The Ballad of Tamlin," this modest but mesmerizing 1971 thriller concerns a young man, Tom Lynn ( Ian McShane), who becomes the romantic prisoner of an evil enchantress Michaela Cazaret ( Ava Gardner ). In a particularly arrestingly eerie and phantasmagorical set piece during which Tom, stoned out of his mind, is pursued by murderous acolytes of the bewitching Miss Cazaret, McDowall effectively punctuates the story's fairy tale quality with an entirely harmonious nightmarish and hallucinogenic tone that forever reflects the psychedelic sixties. McDowall's laudably creative panache as a filmmaker was embellished by a seductive performance from his star Ava Gardner. Though past her prime, she is nonetheless sultrily convincing as the irresistible, vampiric dominatrix insatiably commanding her hapless lovers to their eagerly desired doom.

Tam Lin (aka The Devil's Widow ) was also McDowall's solo directorial effort. Based on the splendid result (especially the aforementioned set piece), it was a great pity that Roddy did not pursue a career as a film director because - as with Charles Laughton, who blessed us with his only turn as a director, the superb "The Night of the Hunter" - he possessed a definite flair as a filmmaker. Produced in 1969, his film sat on the shelf for two years. In 1971, McDowall returned to his film to do some post-production work on it but 'twas all for naught because it was poorly distributed and sank into relative obscurity. In 1998 Republic Home Video, in collaboration with Martin Scorsese and McDowall, restored "Tam Lin" and rescued it from oblivion by releasing a stunningly superb widescreen print with an introduction by McDowall.

I highly recommend this stylishly directed and unjustly neglected gem to lovers of the macabre and mysterious. To all such, I strongly encourage you to seek it out.


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