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Co-scripted by Dylan Thomas, this tale of three ageing and infirm, although philanthropically inclined, spinster sisters presiding over a crumbling mansion in 1930s South Wales is an oddball post-War slice of Welsh Gothic. In their hermetically sealed universe, the sisters' otherworldly formalism is threatened, firstly, by a landslip caused by the family mine which destroys part of their small village at the outset and, secondly, by the return of their wealthy and apparently hard-hearted pragmatist brother and his primly efficient secretary, whose modernity further unravels the web of antiquity which has preserved their world. The narrative clunkiness is swiftly apparent from the somewhat obvious symbolism of the structural cracks and fissures which fracture the sisters' home at the beginning of the movie, and the stateliness of the family's surroundings is matched by similarly ossified pacing; Dylan Thomas' occasionally poetically barbed and witty insights notwithstanding. It's not just the old dark house that creaks here; even a nick of time climax does little to shore up the cracks of this crumbling edifice.
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