19 August 1999 | Clement-2
A film for true James Mason Fans.
If you are a true James Mason fan (as I am) here's a lovely film. I Met a Murderer (England) was literally an original home movie production released in 1937 when Mason was yet under 30 years old (27-28).
This curious and personal little movie was conceived and created by Pamela and Roy Kellino along with James Mason. It was not released in Great Britain immediately, having been rejected by Pamela's family who controlled a large segment of the film distribution business in England. (This caused a painful schism between Pamela and James and the Osterer family.) Only costing 5000 pounds to make, the cinemagraphic production values are honest yet nearly amateur quality. Most of the actors in the film were their friends and performed for nothing or small favors. The story, written by Pamela, is simple and straightforward with lots of naive, old fashioned character interactions and impulsive, hot-tempered, reflexive responses to the problems of the day (like murdering your nagging wife because she shoots the dog-what a concept!). James Mason is exquisitely handsome, and there are lots of dreamy close-ups designed to propel this young superstar into the desiring hearts of swooning bobby-soxers and young moviegoers. His smooth, commanding voice (James Masons' life long signature) is as potent at 28 years of age as it was throughout his life. James Mason and Pamela Kellino were, at this time, very personal and intimately close friends. Three years later Pamela would become Mrs. Mason and the rest is history.
I can't say this is a great movie, but it is an early short feature that shows the fiery intensity of a young James. His willful intensity portrayed here would characterize his appeal for much of his acting career. Indeed, he was the consummate screen actor, perfecting his trade tirelessly until the day of his death. The only complaint I have regarding this little gem is that the sound score is the silent film "follow-the-action-style" musical accompaniment with lots of rousing piano and jump-out-of-your-chair giddyup that can be annoying to modern listeners. Get a copy of this film if you can and enjoy the roots of one of the world's finest actors.