DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

BLANCHE FURY (director: Marc Allégret; screenwriters: Audrey Erskine-Lindop/ Cecil McGivern/Hugh Mills/novel by Joseph Shearing; cinematographer: Guy Green; editor:  Jack Harris; music:  Clifton Parker; cast: Valerie Hobson (Blanche Fury), Stewart Granger (Philip Thorn), Michael Gough (Laurence Fury), Walter Fitzgerald (Simon Fury), Suzanne Gibbs (Lavinia), Maurice Denham (Maj. Fraser), Sybille Binder (Lousia), Ernest Jay (Calamy), Townsend Whitling (Banks), JH Roberts(Doctor); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Anthony Havelock-Allan; Cine-guild; 1948-UK)

"The torrid melodrama is well-acted by both Granger and Hobson."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

French director Marc Allégret ("Fanny"/"Love is at Stake"/"Plucking the Daisy") skillfully helms this dark, atmospheric, brooding gothic melodrama, that's set in 1849, in Norfolk. It's based on the novel by Joseph Shearing and is tautly written by Audrey Erskine-Lindop, Cecil McGivern and Hugh Mills. It's filmed in lush Technicolor.

It opens with Blanche Fury (Valerie Hobson) dying in childbirth. In flashback we trace her rise from an impoverished governess to living in a luxury estate as a possible inheritor thanks to a letter from a distant relative, her wealthy uncle Simon Fury (Walter Fitzgerald). He  invites Blanche to be governess on his estate, the House of Clare, to his widowed son Lawrence's (Michael Gough) young daughter Lavinia (Suzanne Gibbs). The ambitious Blanche soon enters into a loveless marriage with Lawrence, but falls in love with the arrogant and surly estate manager, Philip Thorn (Stewart Granger). He's the illegitimate son of Adam Fury, the previous owner of the estate, and craves only to own the estate he feels should rightfully be his. But Philip is told by his lawyer (Ernest Jay) he doesn't have a case because he can't prove it.

The estate has trouble with gypsies, who camp on their land and steal horses and set fire to the barn. When Simon catches two of the gypsies, they receive a harsh sentence. Meanwhile the scheming Philip, losing his mind over his hatred of Simon and Michael, and having just been dismissed by Michael for not following orders, gets revenge by disguising himself as a gypsy and killing both his long hated family members who disinherited him. Philip correctly believes the gypsies will be blamed. What he doesn't figure on is that Blanche gets turned off that he loves the estate more than he does her and that his evil scheme to kill off Lavinia in a horse jumping exercise makes her changes her testimony, as she now accuses Philip of the murder and he's brought to trial.

The torrid melodrama is well-acted by both Granger and Hobson, and held my interest throughout.

REVIEWED ON 5/14/2014       GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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