Descius Heiss is a French expatriate, and former Devil's Island prisoner, with two passions; driving shrewd bargains in antiques at his Sly Corner Shop, and the care of his Beautiful violin-playing daughter, Margaret. But, his comfortable wealth comes more from being a fence for stolen goods than it does buying-and-selling antiques. His secret is discovered by his shop assistant Archie Fellowes (Kenneth Griffith), a nasty, sniveling young scroat, who keeps blackmailing Heiss until he goes to far. The film ends in a London concert-hall where Margaret is playing the Mendelssohm Violin Concerto.Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Very well worth the viewing time, but a film with two holes
Prior reviewers have given the plot line, so I won't reiterate those details. This is a gripping movie, well-paced, and mostly logically developed. Performances are mostly very good, with the exception of Muriel Pavlow, who is passable - however, her representation of violin playing is so substandard as to be laughable. It can't have been so difficult to find a REAL violin player (even a poor one!) who could coordinate fingering and stroking much, much better to the music played, who could also perform the minimum acting required of this ingenue role. The casting director and producer should have shopped around music conservatories, small orchestras, etc., to find some pretty young girl who could actually play the violin, and then her representational playing could have been dubbed by a better player, as it was in this movie. Viewers of Mary Astor movies may remember her playing the piano in "The Great Lie" of 1941, and being dubbed by a superior piano player. That worked because Astor actually played the piano fairly well herself, and could match finger moves well to the notes heard. The more difficult passages were simply "off camera." Here, long shots were frequently used but still didn't cure the blatant problem That was hole #1.
Hole #2 is that we are asked to believe that Heiss throws in the towel when he is well in the clear of the murder; he has not been identified as being one of the two men who dumped the body. The other man who dumped the body is dead. How Fellowes obtained the "legacy" money may be an open question, but it does not incriminate Heiss directly, as Fellowes may have been blackmailing someone else, or had some other unsavory money source. Pavlow's doctor-fiancé tells Heiss that an item that was on the mantelpiece, then in Fellowes' pocket, proves Fellowes returned to the shop on the night of the murder. So what? All that cool-customer Heiss needed to suggest was that Fellowes may well have returned, unbeknownst to himself, and just pocketed the item, and then left without seeing Heiss. Fellowes could have entered the shop surreptitiously - an open window? did he still have a key? was the door unlocked? - no need for suicide here. That's hole #2.
Otherwise, a fine movie that kept the viewer rooting for the old man..
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