HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Limehouse Golem, The
Frankenstein '80
Good Time
Bucket of Blood, A
Detroit
Hide and Seek
What Happened to Monday
River Wild, The
Veteran
Slumber Party '57
Juliette, or Key of Dreams
Summertime Killer
Sweet Virginia
Ben & Arthur
Your Name
Red Hot Shot, The
New World
Trick Baby
Weapons of Death
Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World, The
Kills on Wheels
Strait-Jacket
This Man is Dangerous
Burning Paradise
Away
Mistress of the Apes
Incredible Paris Incident
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Fox and His Friends
Bitter Harvest
   
 
Newest Articles
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agnès: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
   
 
  Tam Lin Wee cow'ring timorous beastieBuy this film here.
Year: 1971
Director: Roddy McDowall
Stars: Ava Gardner, Ian McShane, Stephanie Beacham, Richard Wattis, Cyril Cusack, David Whitman, Sinead Cusack, Joanna Lumley, Jenny Hanley, Madeline Smith, Bruce Robinson
Genre: Horror, Weirdo
Rating:  9 (from 1 vote)
Review: A languid, hallucinatory gem, and the only film to have been directed by one of this website’s heroes, Mr. Roddy McDowall, Tam Lin (a.k.a. The Devil’s Widow) had a troubled production history, received a belated and brief late-1970s release, and has since disappeared without trace. A great shame, for this updating of Robert Burns’ ‘The Ballad Of Tam Lin’ to the age of Aquarius deserves to be seen, for a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of young Brit starlets, endless bon mots and waspish dialogue, and a thrilling horror/chase climax every bit the equal of the flight of the children in Charles Laughton’s The Night Of The Hunter.

Anglicised to ‘Tom Lynn’, the male lead here is a pre-Lovejoy Ian McShane, in the days when he was something of a hot property and burgeoning star - Tom forms part of the entourage of sophisticated Michaela Cazaret (Ava Gardner), a middle-aged land owner who surrounds herself with a collection of bright young things, seemingly to ensure she remains similarly youthful and contemporary herself. The scene is slowly but carefully set, as life at Mrs. Cazaret’s Scottish retreat appears to be a permanent round of relaxation, wine-drinking, and party games, interspersed with cutting comments from the acid tongue of Joanna Lumley or the world-weary viewpoint of Michaela’s camp male secretary Elroy (a magnificent Richard Wattis in the role he was born to play). The delicious Maddy Smith is even heard to squeal “I’ll swallow anything as long as it’s illegal”, summing up the decadent atmosphere in a single phrase while simultaneously managing to thrill every red-blooded male in the audience!

Tom makes the potentially fatal error of falling in love with the daughter of the local vicar (she’s played by Stephanie Beacham, so why not?); Elroy delivers a coded warning that such romantic behaviour will not be tolerated by their mutual benefactress, and that previous stray members of the household have wound up as victims of terrible road accidents (“you wouldn’t believe…that a face could spread so wide”, slimes Elroy, while displaying an horrific photo of one such calamity!), but Tom is smitten. Any doubt in his mind is settled when Tom discovers that his pregnant lover has travelled to Edinburgh for an abortion; but meanwhile, Mrs. Cazaret has callously replaced her set of young swingers with an equally obnoxious bunch of new hangers-on, and the deadliest party game of all is about to commence, a chilling pursuit through daunting pitch-black woodland, with Tom, now drugged and experiencing a series of wild visions, as the prey…

Tam Lin may seem sluggish and uneventful on first acquaintance, but is a movie which gets better as it progresses and improves immeasurably on repeat viewings, giving the opportunity to savour the ambience (mellow with a hint of bile) and the genteel savagery of this bitter and twisted group of frightful individuals. If Gimme Shelter signified the ‘end of the 60s’ in movie terms, this film perhaps offers the first hint that hippies turn into cabinet ministers when they grow up, and, as early as 1971, predicts the worst excesses of the ‘greed is good’ 80s. As for that alternate title The Devil’s Widow, such billing is fully justified by Gardner’s grasping, evil performance, especially during a sly coda which repays careful attention.
Reviewer: Darrell Buxton

 

This review has been viewed 8594 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Paul Shrimpton
  Rachel Franke
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Keith Rockmael
   

 

Last Updated: