During a snowstorm, Patrick Roarke, a manservant, is found dead at the bottom of the main staircase in a gothic English mansion. Inspector Hatcher is sent to investigate the death. When he ... See full summary »
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During a snowstorm, Patrick Roarke, a manservant, is found dead at the bottom of the main staircase in a gothic English mansion. Inspector Hatcher is sent to investigate the death. When he arrives, he finds a household consisting of five women: the somewhat eccentric Lady Ravenscroft and her mentally unstable daughter Gillian, the icy foreign governess Miss Keiner, the simple minded maid Dolly, and the sinister cook Mrs French. When questioned by the inspector, each of the women tells a different story, all of which are illustrated by flashback scenes showing the events as related by that particular person. Everybody seems to protect somebody and the inspector becomes increasingly intoxicated as he tries to untangle the web of lies in his endeavour to find out the truth. Written by
Based on the play "Ravenscroft" by Don Nigro. See more »
What are you doing here? Burning the meat?
Em... no ma'am... we're burning the gravy.
Ah! It's the gravy, is it? Oh well, that's all right then I suppose. Excuse me inspector, I must just go now and supervise the... eh... ritual burning of the gravy.
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Before the cast is listed, text on screen outlines the further fate of the main characters in the film. The last line reads "Patrick Roarke remains dead". See more »
This is one of those pictures where I find myself asking, "Why did so-and-so take this role?" The script is so-so and the direction bizarre at times. The actors are great, working their way through a not-completely-compelling whodunit.
The lead character is a Scotland Yard detective and therefore Must Ask Questions. A *lot* of questions. So there is a repeated pattern of question-answer, question-answer that gets grating after a while. As noted, the actors (especially Greta Scacchi) do a remarkable job of lifting this poor writing off the page and infusing it with wit and meaning.
Altogether I found it an odd film, trying desperately not to be a play (with bizarre editing) instead of just embracing its intimacy. The "mystery" gets buried beneath the direction but it might be something to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon when you're sick in bed.
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