21 April 2008 | guenzeld
A most enjoyable movie
I would not be put off from watching this very enjoyable movie by some of the opinions posted here. THE FRANCHISE AFFAIR is a movie you should seek out because it is, simply, very well made.
The 1951 film was based on the Josephine Tey novel - recently voted by the Crime Writer's Association as one of the Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time - and her novel was in turn based on a true 18th century case, that of Elizabeth Canning. Canning was a woman who accused two other women of kidnapping her and forcing her to become a prostitute. As the evidence against them grows a lawyer very reluctantly agrees to take on their case.
The film was made in moody black and white, nicely photographed by Gunther Krampf, a cameraman who began his career shooting beautiful silent films in Germany before emigrating to Britain in the late 1930s. His work has graced many a film. The story was updated by author Tey to the present time and the movie presents pleasant views of English village life in the 1940s. The script is extremely well-written. True, it contains a good deal of dialog, literate dialog I might add, but I believe this enhances the story-telling in the picture rather than takes away from it.
The acting is, as always with films made in the golden years of British film making, top-notch. I was more than a little amused by the criticism of one writer on this site who disparaged Mr Denison's acting and of another who called the acting "stilted". I suppose if one is accustomed to the hilarious, idiotically over-the-top acting style of today it is hard to adjust to genuinely fine acting. Again, do not be put off by comments like this: the acting is first-rate all down the line. Look for future British film stars in small roles here and there, and relish the delightfully dotty performance of the great Athene Seyler as the lawyer's mother. Such witty and well-judged performances like those are always worth a look.
THE FRANCHISE AFFAIR is very highly recommended.