HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
You Don't Nomi
Man from the Alamo, The
Vast of Night, The
Furies, The
Days of the Bagnold Summer
Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975, The
Apartment 1BR
1776
Parasite
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Tam Lin Wee cow'ring timorous beastie
Year: 1971
Director: Roddy McDowall
Stars: Ava Gardner, Ian McShane, Stephanie Beacham, Richard Wattis, Cyril Cusack, David Whitman, Sinéad Cusack, Joanna Lumley, Jenny Hanley, Madeline Smith, Bruce Robinson
Genre: Horror, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
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 10128 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
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: