6.5/10
243
10 user 11 critic

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.

Director:

Writer:

(original screenplay)
Reviews

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

Killer slugs on the rampage in a rural community.

Director: Juan Piquer Simón
Stars: Michael Garfield, Kim Terry, Philip MacHale
Viy (1967)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young priest is ordered to preside over the wake of witch in a small old wooden church of a remote village. This means spending three nights alone with the corpse with only his faith to protect him.

Directors: Konstantin Ershov, Georgiy Kropachyov
Stars: Leonid Kuravlyov, Natalya Varley, Aleksey Glazyrin
Angel Face (1952)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Ambulance driver Frank Jessup is ensnared in the schemes of the sensuous but dangerous Diane Tremayne.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jean Simmons, Mona Freeman
The Fury (1978)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A government agent is determined to come to his son's rescue when a sinister official kidnaps him to harbor his extremely powerful psychic abilities.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Carrie Snodgress
Sebastiane (1976)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Reassigned to a lowly outpost, a Roman guard's Christian beliefs clash with his gay commander's desire for closeness. Being tortured becomes pleasurable.

Directors: Paul Humfress, Derek Jarman
Stars: Leonardo Treviglio, Barney James, Neil Kennedy
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A scientist and his wife lead a team into the Belasco House, which is supposedly haunted by the victims of its late owner, a serial killer.

Director: John Hough
Stars: Roddy McDowall, Gayle Hunnicutt, Pamela Franklin
Night Watch (1973)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Ellen Wheeler, a rich widow, is recovering from a nervous breakdown. One day, while staring out the window, she witnesses a murder. But does anybody believe her?

Director: Brian G. Hutton
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Laurence Harvey, Billie Whitelaw
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

After a bad gambling bet, a schoolteacher is marooned in a town full of crazy, drunk, violent men who threaten to make him just as crazy, drunk, and violent.

Director: Ted Kotcheff
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Gary Bond, Chips Rafferty
Odissea (TV Mini-Series 1968)
Certificate: GP Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Odysseus' journey told in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. After fighting in the Trojan War, Odysseus spends years trying to return home to Itaka.

Stars: Bekim Fehmiu, Leonard Steckel, Irene Papas
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

In the 1950s a horror-comic artist's creations come alive and kill him. Years later a new cartoonist revives the creatures in his house, now part of an artist's colony.

Director: John Carl Buechler
Stars: Yvonne De Carlo, Debrah Farentino, Brian Robbins
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Barbara Beaurevel lives with her aunt and cousin in New Orleans in the late 1800's. In love with Mark Lucas, a research doctor at Tulane University, her plans to marry him are thwarted. ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Stevenson
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Ava Gardner, Melvyn Douglas
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

The hilarious adventures of young Bumbo Bailey, who enlists in the Brigade of Guards and is based in the prestigious Wellington Barracks in London in the Swinging Sixties. He regards his social life as important as his military.

Director: Andrew Sinclair
Stars: Richard Warwick, Joanna Lumley, Natasha Pyne
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Michaela Cazaret
...
Tom Lynn
Richard Wattis ...
Elroy
...
Vicar Julian Ainsley
...
Janet Ainsley
David Whitman ...
Oliver
Fabia Drake ...
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
Edit

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:

 »
Edit

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
See  »
Edit

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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
THE BALLAD OF TAM LIN (Roddy McDowall, 1970) ***
7 October 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

The reputation of this one rests largely on the fact that it was the sole directorial effort of former child actor McDowall; for fantasy buffs, he had just appeared as Cornelius in PLANET OF THE APES (1968) and would feature in 4 of the movie sequels and even the spin-off TV series – indeed, he only missed out on BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970) because he was involved in making the film under review; his other genre efforts include IT! (1967), THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE (1973) and the two FRIGHT NIGHT pictures from the latter half of the 1980s.

Inspired by a Robert Burns poem, TAM-LIN (as it is better-known – another alternate title is the terminally silly THE DEVIL'S WIDOW!) deals with a Succubus-like wealthy woman called "Mickey" (played by Ava Gardner in pretty much her last leading role, which she naturally gives it her all and, even at 48, looks ravishing, apart from being decked-out in expensive clothes) who, as a means of preserving her own vitality surrounds herself by myriad youths in her vast country estate (this being the "Age Of Aquarius" these are hip, uninhibited – indulge in all sorts of charades to while away the time, including a fortune-telling bid which suddenly turns scary – but also aimless types, so that whenever she decides to let one of them go, they invariably plead with her to remain).

Occasionally, she even chooses a young man among them as her lover but holds the reins tightly on him, as if forever conscious of the volatile nature of the relationship; tending her affairs is waspish Richard Wattis (usually seen in comedies but perfectly cast here, especially effective when he provides details to Gardner's current partner about his predecessors' tragic deaths, subtly alluding to his own fate were he to break free of his mistress' clutches!). The latter (named Tom Lynn!) is played by Ian McShane and, needless to say, he falls for an outsider before long – minister Cyril Cusack's daughter Stephanie Beacham; though Gardner does not mind his attentions towards the latter initially – she is even protective of the girl when the latter pays them a visit and is taunted by the others (these include Cusack's real-life daughter Sinead, future film director Bruce Robinson, as well as Hammer starlets Joanna Lumley and Madeleine Smith, who demonstrates her immaturity by yearning for a puppy though she still gets to utter a line that perfectly encapsulates the predominant liberalism of the era, "I'll swallow anything as long as it's illegal"!) – but when things get serious, and Beacham becomes pregnant, she takes a different attitude altogether.

Consequently, Mickey becomes bored with her 'guests' and has them replaced – keeping only one young man who had most actively pursued McShane for his 'betrayal' – only these seem to be most receptive to her 'evil' nature. They kidnap the hero (just as he is about to elope with Beacham, whom he had even dissuaded from aborting her child), who is then let loose to literally be chased through the swamps; however, he has been drugged and he hallucinates himself at the center of a number of terrible predicaments: he is turned into a living teddy-bear(!), attacked by a giant snake and even engulfed in flames (unfortunately, the otherwise quite satisfactory widescreen VHS source is exceedingly dark during this sequence, so that one has to make an effort to discern just what is going on…though I wonder whether it was intentionally mystifying – again, shot by Billy Williams!). Anyway, with Beacham by his side, he manages to overcome these 'punishments', so that Gardner has no alternative but to give up and seek her 'life-affirming' kind of thrills elsewhere, with Wattis and the afore-mentioned hanger-on (who has effectively become McShane's replacement) in tow.

The pictorial Scottish setting and evocative folk score (by Stanley Myers and the group Pentangle – coincidentally, former band member Bert Jansch would pass away the very day after this viewing!) anticipate THE WICKER MAN (1973; whose co-star Diane Cilento, eerily enough, I have just learned died yesterday!); similarly, the depiction of a romantic idyll through a series of freeze-frames (a tell-tale sign of McDowall's passion for photography) look forward to the bloody murder set-piece in the recently-viewed WELCOME TO ARROW BEACH – released 4 years later and, as it happens, a film made by another actor-turned-director i.e. Laurence Harvey. By the way, THE BALLAD OF TAM LIN was originally released in the U.S. via a reportedly much-altered version that stressed the horror elements; this came to be because the company that financed it, Commonwealth, folded around this same time and the picture was subsequently bought and distributed by AIP! In the 1990s (the days of VHS and shortly before McDowall's death), the film was restored more or less to its original form by none other than Martin Scorsese – but, being currently unavailable on any official digital format, it remains an elusive beast...


8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Looking sjaaltje
On Location (Scotland) bsfraser2003
'Tam Lin' Blu-ray available September 2013 notmicro
Discuss The Devil's Widow (1970) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?