Thriller: Season 2, Episode 3

The Savage Curse (25 Feb. 1974)
"Kiss Me and Die" (original title)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Mystery | Thriller
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 50 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 2 critic

When his brother vanishes without a trace, American Robert Stone goes to his last known location: a remote English village. Robert's investigation leads him to the mansion of Jonathon ... See full summary »

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Title: The Savage Curse (25 Feb 1974)

The Savage Curse (25 Feb 1974) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
Dominie Lanceford
...
Robert Stone
Anton Diffring ...
Jonathan Lanceford
John Sharpe ...
Jack Woodbridge
...
Ben Kroom
Russell Hunter ...
Old Fred
Peggy Sinclair ...
Miss Faversham
Barry James ...
Tom Whidden
John Atkinson ...
Ben Hawkes
Raymond Mason ...
Bill Gurney
Sue Robinson ...
Jenny
Peter Casillas ...
Jim Stone
Peter Elliott ...
The Effigy
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Storyline

When his brother vanishes without a trace, American Robert Stone goes to his last known location: a remote English village. Robert's investigation leads him to the mansion of Jonathon Lanceford, a man obsessed with the Gothic works of Edgar Allen Poe, and his beautiful and enigmatic niece Dominie... Written by L. Hamre

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25 February 1974 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Poe-Faced
13 October 2004 | by (Lancashire, England) – See all my reviews

Although this installment of "Thriller" is generally popular with fans I've never been keen on it and consider it one of the weaker ones. All the same it is a pretty professional job and does have its merits.

American Robert Stone comes to England searching for his brother who went missing shortly after arriving in a quaint village and meeting a beautiful young woman called Dominie. At the village pub he gets a warm welcome but when he visits Dominie's stately home he gets short shrift from the housekeeper. Fortunately for him Dominie is more welcoming.

An attraction develops between Robert and Dominie but it is uneasy. She has been hurt by what she sees as past rejections. It is also clear that her guardian, a German cum-English "gentleman", Jonathan Lanceford is not keen on the relationship at all. Robert gets the message from other quarters that his presence isn't wanted but he persists. He isn't frightened off even when Fred, a local rat-catcher who had given him some interesting information, dies in a mysterious accident. The signs are that Robert could be next...

The story premise is quite promising but somehow the result on screen doesn't really work. There is an Edgar Allan Poe theme running throughout, with Jonathan Lanceford obsessed with the writer. This is an interesting angle but doesn't make the impact expected.

The performances are, for the most part unremarkable, although quite competent. There are two major exceptions. Anton Diffring is very impressive, making Jonathan very sinister. Russell Hunter does a very good job as the permanently drunk but revealing Fred. The direction is quite good, particularly in some night shots and light and dark are well-handled in scenes in the dark recesses of the house and the accompanying party. At no point though was this as unsettling as it could have been.

An irritating aspect is the use of unconvincing rural accents in the village pub. This is an echo of the yokel scenes in the village store in "A Place To Die", an episode from the previous season also written by Terence Feely. On a more positive if trivial note it is refreshing to see a pub full of working class beer drinkers in a show otherwise dominated by privileged people downing spirits. "Thriller" was not noted for its humour but there is a rare joke here. Robert is asked how they deal with foxes in America. He dryly replies, "Well in our country the foxes shoot back"!

The final scene I find one of the worst endings to a story - it is horribly cheesy and out of keeping with the very serious action beforehand, in particular detracting from a fairly effective climax.

Overall then a mixed bag. I would recommend checking other installments of "Thriller" first but this is still worthy of attention.


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