Madonna of the Seven Moons

This is elegantly stated in its final frames as the rose and the cross.

A very proper Italian lady breaks down for months at a time into a woman of the people living with a “gang of cutthroats” at the house of the seven moons, where her lover is the leader of the gang.

She was raised in a convent, raped as a girl, and married to a friend of her father.

She is shocked by her jitterbugging daughter, raised in England.

The style mounts well-nigh unto grand opera. Time Out Film Guide was notably scandalized, “just think of England”, its reviewer counseled.

 

They Were Sisters

It shows quite properly the foundation of such films as Cries and Whispers and most particularly Fanny and Alexander on the wartime experience, as this is the tale of an awful domestic tyrant finally vanquished and happy home life found once more among the families of three sisters, each quite different.

The BFI takes another view entirely. The BFI is quite down on Gainsborough Pictures.

Time Out Film Guide turns a purblind eye but chasteneth not.

Halliwell actually refers to “the chief attraction being ‘wicked’ James Mason as a sadist.”

Charlotte’s death scene is strikingly reproduced in Kubrick’s Lolita, of course.

Crabtree’s wit and delicate direction are notable over and over again, an influential sort of aplomb affording an inside view of these matters.

 

Caravan

The writer in the wild, as it were (1830 or thereabouts, A.H. Weiler says in his New York Times review, a pan), with a very brief epilogue home and dry, as the saying is.

This is mainly feeling the rain in Spain sent from a London rival for a certain lady’s hand, and to be dead and jilted and wanted by the police, to be married by the king of the gypsies to one of the tribe, to live in a cave near Granada.

The precipitous joke at the finale is that success and the lady, too, have their compensations.

A Way through the Woods is the title of the published work.

“Period romance” (Monthly Film Bulletin), “period tosh” (Halliwell’s Film Guide), the British Film Institute would latterly like to see it curtailed by at least one scene, the whores at the dinner party.

 

Dear Murderer

A peculiarly elegant and beautiful murder plot, forcefully and commandingly done, that is partly invented with great skill as the perfect murder and partly assembled la diable, which has to be undone, leaving the final part to emulate the first, in this way the husband and the wife and the lover all vanish from the scene, leaving a young couple to carry on as before, quite innocently.

T.M.P. of the New York Times admired some of its virtues, he could not follow it very well, however, and did not like it, and wished it were faster.

“Hitler in disguise” might have done the first murder, finding another lover the husband contemplates killing them all, one by one.

 

Hindle Wakes

The girl who went to Llandudno, her friend who drowned at Blackpool, an arranged marriage cheerfully rejected, the boss’s son off the hook but still on with a mill owner’s daughter, happiness all round though the girl’s mother sheds buckets.

A perfect bit of absurdity got up as serious as you please in the early going, on the great workings of the social whirl that grind ever so fine, in the end.

Fine views on location, perfectly charming actors, a very droll script, “let joy be unrefined.”

 

Fiend without a Face

Atomic war, the very thought of it once countenanced as real, sucking the brain and spine right out of a man, hurling them through the air to strike, feeding off the reactor at “U.S. Air Force Interceptor Command, Experimental Station No. 6, Winthrop Manitoba, Canada”.

The “thought materialization” of a “mental vampire” by “Sibonetics”.

A great masterpiece, admired as far as possible by Time Out Film Guide, dismissed by Halliwell’s Film Guide as “tepid shocker”.

 

Horrors of the Black Museum

Not the one kept by Scotland Yard from evidence accumulated over the years, something more in the spirit of Frankenstein’s laboratory, a proving ground for an authority on crime and the male assistant to whom he gives injections of a substance that proves the veracity of Jekyll and Hyde.

Insufferable women are the targets.

The film is preceded by a lecture-demonstration on the principles of hypnotism (“Hypno Vista”).

Richard W. Nason of the New York Times chucked it out with the other rubbish, Peter Graham Scott’s The Headless Ghost.

Time Out Film Guide concurs. Halliwell’s Film Guide drops its oar in, “crude shocker.”