31 July 2011 | moonspinner55
Good-looking, but awesomely extended Gothic costumer...
British film-adaptation of Sheridan Le Fanu's novel "Uncle Silas" stars Jean Simmons as a 16-year-old orphan in 1845 England who is menaced by her nefarious uncle and his scheming partner, the girl's former governess, over the fortune her late father willed to her. Exceptionally handsome Two Cities Films production is full of cobwebs, castles and dark corridors, however the hysterical damsel-in-distress plot doesn't really hold together. Simmons nearly makes for a dandy target, but too often she moves lethargically (with her hands covering her face). Far better are Derrick De Marney and Katina Paxinou as the villains of the piece, with Paxinou taking her wicked witch role to its zenith (the film nearly dies for a spell when she is off the screen). More obvious now than it must have been in 1947, the story exposition at the beginning is clumsy and Charles Frank's direction is occasionally stilted or unsure. Still, there are pleasures to be had for those in the requisite silly spirit, and Robert Krasker's gorgeous cinematography is a feast for the eyes. **1/2 from ****