American, in trade, went there to escape the family strictures on working for a living, came back to die in the castle, his relations do themselves in to get his boodle.
A masterpiece of great style and verve, personified in the director’s performance as the English nephew, not a crevice in him anywhere, perfectly matched by Wendy Hiller as his dear wife.
The felicity of the conclusion is allowed to peep through midway so as to prepare the complication dreadfully well, the coroner’s inquest is presented with a criminologist’s deduction that Uncle George murdered his relatives to advance his prestige somehow, evidence points to this, but the true state of affairs is self-evident, out of their own mouths the hapless guilty are condemned.
Bosley Crowther of the New York Times could not grasp it in the slightest, whereas the presence of Katie Johnson easily suggests a monumental analysis of Mackendrick’s The Ladykillers, a quite satisfactory arrangement.
Irish gunman, immemorial, striking down a blasphemer.
Rival author in the literary wars, if truth be told, Ireland the place where it all happens (cp. Elephant, dir. Alan Clarke).
Mystifications, a literal bog, a number of Hitchcockisms (The 39 Steps, North by Northwest etc.), and the inescapable mystery, old as the hills and John Ford (The Informer, The Fugitive).
Bosley Crowther of the New York Times, “little... to recommend this rambling Irish film to anybody with an average intelligence,” overreaching. Britmovie, “surprising and provocative drama that only weakens when the mystery and suspense elements are introduced.” Dan Pavlides (Rovi), “routine thriller.” Halliwell’s Film Guide, “mysterious rigmarole”.