28 July 2004 | Poseidon-3
Yummy piece of movie mayhem.
A crackerjack cast of British pros enlivens this drawing room murder story based on a play. Bogarde (looking lean and young) is married to doddering, but kindly older woman Washourne. When he misunderstands her intentions regarding her will, he decides to do her in. Unfortunately, his haste leaves him in a precarious financial state and so he must give marrying and killing for money one more try. He hooks up with wealthy, but incredibly common and vulgar Lockwood, but she proves to be more than he bargained for in the brains department. Things heat up further when attractive, tasteful and equally wealthy Walsh enters the picture. Meanwhile, Bogarde cons his first wife's simple-minded maid Harrison into thinking he's a decent man, but Washbourne's lawyer Flemyng isn't fooled. Though the film can't completely erase it's roots on the stage, the story is opened up nicely every so often and the story is compelling enough to hold one's interest. Bogarde is wonderful as the conniving lady-killer, showing lots of expression and layers. (His character has homosexual shadings. He's even perusing a muscleman magazine as he's on the hunt for wife number two!) Washbourne fulfills her role as the befuddled first wife very well. Walsh adds a dash of taste to the proceedings. The real gem of the film, however, is Lockwood. She's absolutely divine as the mouthy, tacky, worldly (but lonely) woman who has dealt herself not only a new husband, but a fractured nutcase. The role is unusual for her and she portrays it beautifully. In skirts that are so tight she has to pull them up in order to sit down and with cigarettes hanging out of her beauty-marked mouth, she enlivens the film every time she is on screen. The film has several great, dramatic flourishes and some gorgeous deep focus photography. There's also a memorably menacing title sequence featuring Bogarde's deranged eyes. Though the ending is fairly predictable, there is one twist that some viewers may not see coming. Fans of Hitchcock and his ilk of suspense films will probably enjoy it more than the average viewer.