Set in 1815, a young Englishman touring Europe encounters more than he bargained for. His pursuit of the beautiful Countess St. Alyre brings him into contact with the Marquis D'Armanville ...
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Set in 1815, a young Englishman touring Europe encounters more than he bargained for. His pursuit of the beautiful Countess St. Alyre brings him into contact with the Marquis D'Armanville and other odd characters. A series of bizarre murders occur, bringing our hero to the borderland of nightmare.Written by
A generally textual adaptation of THE ROOM AT THE DRAGON VOLANT by Irish writer of Gothic tales Joseph Sheridan LeFanu, this is a Swedish/Irish production that offers a sterling European cast with a Swedish director, superior recreation of period costuming, and a selection of evocative locations in England and Eire appropriate for the atmospheric significance within Sheridan LeFanu's book. Set in 1815 in a France that is rebuilding after the Napoleonic Wars, the plot follows the activities of a wealthy young Englishman, Robert Terrence (Brendan Price), as he begins his belated Grand Tour with an eye upon using a borrowed and supposedly guaranteed method of winning at casino roulette, but who instead is lured by a captivating French noblewoman (Marilu Tolo) to her estate, resulting in his being in danger of losing more than his funds, while becoming involved in an adventure that far surpasses his romantic aspirations in its effect upon him. Rather than trying to peel away the layers of intensity that distinguish the original in order to establish linear continuity, director and co-scriptor (with his wife Yvonne) Calvin Floyd wisely emphasizes psychologically based gambits deployed by many of the characters, while holding to the plot and actually strengthening it through addition of elements taken from other pieces by Sheridan LeFanu. The film's temper is dark, and some of the photography is too much so but this, along with overmuch use of a synthesizer in the scoring, are its only serious flaws and the acting of Patrick Magee as an enigmatic nobleman, Niall Toibin as Robert's loyal servant Sean, and Price stand out among many performances that leave nought to be bettered. It is noteworthy that such a production is released, one based upon a literary work of merit, that eschews the overfamiliar Grand Guignol normally splashed into cinema of this genre, in favour of focussing upon those inner conflicts that provide the characters with universal significance.
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