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George C. Scott,
After spending all of her inheritance, scheming Diane returns from America to her family's estate in the English countryside, where her sister Margaret takes care of the family's stables with the help of two farmhands, Ron and Jimmy. Diane is interested in Ron but Margaret has had enough of her sister's irresponsible behavior and promiscuity, especially after Diane admits to her that she had had several tremulous failed relationships in the States and even had to have an abortion. They fight over the future of their estate as well as the direction of their lives. However, this family drama is interrupted when the police shows up to question them about the brutal murder of a local girl in the nearby forest. None of the four have alibis but they also lack motivation to commit the murder, so they are left alone for the time being. Suspicion begins to grow in the household as the killings continue.
First of all being a Hywel Bennett fan from his "Shelley" days, I knew within the first 3 minutes that he played the bad guy. The director's first mistake was not understanding that Mr. Bennett wore leather jackets quite a lot in his hit comedy, "Shelley". A Change of costrums would have added to the mystery needed in the beginning.
Secondly, Garfield Morgan, (Inspector Moss) who also played in the later episodes of "Shelley", directly give the bad guy away within minutes of his first appearance. I felt this was a script sabotage. Unfortunately, two very hard working and famed deservant actor/actress career's suffered in due course. Hywel Bennett and Billie Whitelaw deserve much better co-actors and actresses to work along with them.
I was confused as to what kind of personality Jimmy Fower was suppose to have. Did he have the mind of a killer or a retarded person, or psychotic? I believe Jimmy Fower was suppose to be mentally handicapped in some way. But Mr. Bennetts insight of the mentally handicap was greatly misunderstood along with the direction of this film. Mr. Bennett acted more like a person with "lawjaw" then mentally handicapped.
Ali MacGraw (DianeBaker) and her English sister played by Billie Whitelaw didn't seem to make much sense. Even if a person was born in Great Britain and lived away in America wouldn't necessarily completely loose her native accent. Ali gave me the impression she was coached into remembering her speaking lines. Her attention was not focused naturally into the part. It seemed like she was looking away all the time, perhaps reading the script instead of memorizing it.
Although there were some serious flaws with the action and direction of this film. Hywel Bennett took his role very seriously in the end as the mad killer. It gave me the creeps as he held the dead german shepherd. The ending was superb for actor Hywel Bennett. Wow! What passion! But over all the movie was a screw-up.
No wonder Hollywood never gave this actor a chance. Sakhu.
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