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Poor story, good film.

Author: Robin Moss from London, United Kingdom
16 March 2013

When a film is made very cheaply and within an extremely tight shooting schedule, the result is often embarrassing to watch. If such a film is adapted from a story by a much respected author, the narrative may hold the audience's attention even though the film has been badly made. Return To Sender reverses this expectation. Despite having been made in 20 days on a minimal budget, Return To Sender is a well made film with a sloppy narrative, based on a story by Edgar Wallace.

A corporate fraudster is arrested for stealing a large sum of money from his partners. He is informed that a particularly brilliant and persistent barrister will lead the prosecution against him. To undermine the credibility of the barrister, the fraudster engages the services of a sleazy individual who specialises in dirty tricks and smear tactics. The plan is set in motion but the fraudster intends to twist it to ruin both the barrister and the scheme's architect.

The central premise of Return To Sender does not make sense because evidence in a case is obtained by the police, not the prosecuting barrister. The story is further weakened by relying on two totally implausible coincidences and the final nail in the coffin is that the fraudster has no reason to betray the man he has hired.

Despite the very poor material, Return To Sender is an enjoyable movie. Most of the acting is quite good and it is probable that with a longer shooting schedule, the acting would have been better still. Geoffrey Keen and Nigel Davenport were two ultra professional actors and both give excellent performances. William Russell is consistently interesting as the seemingly unemotional black arts practitioner. The exuberantly feminine Yvonne Romain overplays her role slightly. It would have been better if she had not delivered her lines so forcefully and had spoken a little more slowly, but she is so good-looking that many viewers will not care!

The camera work is admirable. As is so often the case in films shot very quickly, few camera set-up were used, obliging the actors to move about within the compositions.

Return To Sender is today almost forgotten but it is still worth watching despite the weak story line.

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