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Who is 'The Smiling Widow'?

6/10
Author: Bernard-Dunne from Essex, United Kingdom
17 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One in the series of Merton Park's film shorts which were made under the title 'Scotland Yard' and released as second features to cinemas in the British Isles. These were later repackaged and sold for screenings on television abroad and in Great Britain under that title and as 'Casebook'. This film opens with the dour Edgar Lustgarten talking about 'The Case of "The Smiling Widow"' which was known in the police files as 'The Adams Case' A very low budget short, made in under a week but it doesn't seem rushed. It begins after painter Peter Adams is found dead in Art dealer Christopher Nicholls' home after supposedly gassing himself by using the oven at the house in Hamstead, London. At the coroner's inquest Nicholls talks about Adams' last night alive by saying he had a lot to drink, But Doctor Harding goes against this by stating that there was hardly any alcohol in Adams' body. Because of this statement the police then open an investigation lead by Superintendent Duggan. The film seems very cheap and downbeat with Bates, the police driver finding out more information than Duggan by talking to Nicholls' servants while having a tea break with them, rather than been on the beat investigating. 'The Smiling Widow' is later revealed to be a painting by 'an old master' that was faked by Adams and later sold by Nicholls. To find out more Duggan later goes (via stock footage) to Rome, Italy where he meets an Italian inspector played by Roger Delgardo (later made famous as the original 'Master' in 'Doctor Who'). As the running time is only half an hour it goes along pretty fast and everything comes out at the end, in that Adams was blackmailing Nicholls for selling imitation masterpiece paintings, so Nicholls killed him, or did he? In a nice twist ending it turns out that his wife Janet killed him and moved the heavy body downstairs by using a wheelchair. She killed Adams due to her been his jealous lover. Nice scenic shots of 1950's London and something quick and interesting to watch for half an hour with a great unexpected ending.

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