EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|LOVE FROM A STRANGER (aka: A NIGHT OF TERROR) (director: Rowland V. Lee; screenwriter: Frances Marion/play by Frank Vosper/from an Agatha Christie story "Philomel Cottage"; cinematographer: Philip Tannura; editor: Howard O'Neill; music: Benjamin Britten; cast: Basil Rathbone (Gerald Lovell), Ann Harding (Carol Howard Kate Meadows Ronald Bruce), Bryan Powley (Dr. Gribble), Jean Cadell (Aunt Lou), Joan Hickson (Emmy), Donald Calthrop (Hobson); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Max Schach; Alpha Video; 1937-UK)|
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Rowland V. Lee ("Son of Frankenstein"/"Captain Kidd"/"The
San Luis Rey") tautly
directs this stagy thriller that's based on a play by Frank
Vosper, which in turn is based on an Agatha
Christie story "Philomel
Cottage." The script is written by Frances Marion.
London office worker Carol Howard (Ann
won the grand prize in the French lottery, but her sudden wealth upsets
Ronald Bruce (Bruce Seton). He just
returned from the Sudan after three years, and the old-fashioned
patriarchal bloke refuses to live off a
woman's money. The couple quarrel and breakup. Dapper sophisticate Gerald Lovell (Basil
inquiries about renting Carol's apartment, and she quickly falls in
love with him when he follows her aboard a ship to Paris. Carol goes
there with her roommate Kate (Binnie Hale) to collect
her prize money. Ignoring Ron's warning that Gerald's references of
working as an engineer in a South American oil field don't check-out,
she impulsively marries him. There are early warning signs that hubby
is not right, but Carol also ignores them. She buys hubby an isolated
country house in Kent that he picks out for her, and blindly signs a
document making him the sole heir
to her new
fortune. The gullible Kate finally catches on hubby
has severe mental problems when he refuses to let her in the cellar and
yells at her like a madman when she enters the off-limits cellar. Carol
also discovers Gerald is a serial killer, and he doesn't deny it.
Trapped in the house with him
alone, Carol manages to turn the tables on him and cause him to have a
fatal heart attack when he thinks he's been poisoned drinking coffee.
Rathbone gives an unhinged performance, which should
satisfy his fans.
It was remade in Hollywood in 1947, with Sylvia Sidney and John Hodiak in the starring roles.
REVIEWED ON 2/5/2011 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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