10 August 2011 | blanche-2
Michael Wilding takes up "Trent's Last Case" in this 1952 film directed by Herbert Wilcox for Republic Studios. It's British with a British cast that includes Margaret Lockwood, John McCallum, Hugh McDermott, and one American, Orson Welles, who was probably trying to raise money for a project.
Trent is an artist and also an amateur detective. He gets involved in the suicide of a wealthy man named Manderson, but as he investigates, it looks more and more like murder. One suspect stands out, but how to prove it?
Unlike many detectives in books and movies, Trent is fallible. This is a neat mystery with a few red herrings. I don't agree that it was dull; I think the story itself keeps the film going, as well as the attractive Michael Wilding. Wilding falls in with many of those tall, good-looking British actors from the '50s - Robert Flemying, Michael Rennie, etc., and probably wouldn't be well known here if he hadn't married Elizabeth Taylor. Nevertheless, he was quite urbane with a great voice and acquits himself well as Trent. Margaret Lockwood is lovely as the victim's widow, and she keeps you guessing.
Not as bad as some reviewers claim. Maybe not as good either, but I enjoyed it. Orson Welles apparently had an obsession with using fake noses on his characters. It's really obvious in profile.