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Just before the outbreak of World War I, Edith Graydon married her boyfriend Percy Thomson. He survives the war but theirs is not a happy marriage. She doesn't really love him and he feels it every day. He's also possessive and their daily life is a constant battle. She meets and falls in love with Frederick Bywaters, her sister's one-time boyfriend. They have a long affair and her desperate attempts to get either a formal separation of divorce from her husband falls on deaf ears. They are at their wits end and Bywaters decides to do something about it. On a dark evening when Edith is walking with her husband, Bywaters stabs him to death. Edith is charged with murder along with Bywaters and both are found guilty. She claims her innocence right up until the day they are both executed by hanging in 1923. Base on a true story. Written by
This is an interesting picture for several reasons. It is primarily a tale of jealousy and murder, but there is virtually no blood. English mysteries are like that. The film forces you to follow the story in order to understand it. You will have no choice but to develop conflicting feelings about the protagonist.
Edie is the younger daughter of a typical English family at the turn of the century. Unlike her parents, younger brother, and older sister, she is what we might describe as a free spirit. She is extremely intelligent. She smokes, she drinks, she plays the coquette with boys, and she eventually lures a hapless weakling into marrying her by providing him with outrageous sex before marriage. This marriage sets the scene for the murder mystery to come. She comes to despise her husband Percy after dallying with a family friend. Her affair with Fred becomes obvious to her husband, her Mum and Dad, and her sister Avis (who is also in love with Fred). Edie doesn't care. Free spirits are willing to leave a trail of broken hearts in their paths.
The story is often told in the first person, and it's this introspection that gives us insight into her character and creates the mixed emotions we have about her. Is she just a self centered dreamer with no thought for the pain she causes those around her? Or is she a calculating narcissist who is willing to sacrifice anything or anyone who gets her way. Is Fred the driving force in this tragedy, or is he just a tool she uses to get what she wants? We come away from this movie wondering, and that is what makes it worth watching.
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