the beast in the cellar
Two old dears in Lancashire, you see, and it’s going about slaughtering soldiers.
The tale goes back to the Great War but really begins in 1939, when the brunt of action borne by their late father comes to require an urgent remedy, in their minds.
A leopard is informally suspected, at first. Kelly opens on army maneuvers nearby, the theme is developed from there.
Vincent Canby had no use for it at all, thinking it something vaguely theatrical, and dismissed it in the New York Times as “drinking tea and talking the plot over and out.”
A psychological evaluation quite close to Altman’s Images in style. The second wife and her stepson have a conflict, this is illustrated in terms related to the husband’s project for a book on Surrealism.
The comical stupidity of Time Out Film Guide’s squib trumps even Halliwell on this subject.
The moment of lucidity provided by an office conversation between the stepmother and the boy’s psychiatrist sets the keynote, the carefully-contrived ambiguity throughout seems to have been understood by critics as blundering incompetence.
The setting is that of Leacock’s The Spanish Gardener.
The Turn of the Screw has been noticed by some reviewers, yet this is Phaedra, in sum.