HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Malpas Mystery, The “Women – when they think they’re being smart, they’re being stupid!”
Year: 1960
Director: Sidney Hayers
Stars: Maureen Swanson, Allan Cuthbertson, Geoffrey Keen, Ronald Howard, Sandra Dorne, Alan Tilvern, Edward Cast
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  0 Votes
Review: An hour-long ‘B’ picture made by Independent Artists at their Beaconsfield Studios near London, The Malpas Mystery is often regarded – and marketed – as one of the Edgar Wallace mysteries produced by Jack Greenwood at Merton Park. Cheaply and quickly made these second features gained great popularity in UK cinemas, and overseas when sold straight to US television (“Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre”) in the early-mid 1960’s. While the quality of the series as a whole is uneven, some have a certain flair that sets them apart from just B-movie status.

The Malpas Mystery is one of these. The plot may be a little too reliant on coincidence, but some sinister effects give it a distinctly creepy atmosphere, probably thanks to director Sidney Hayers, a proficient director whose work was always worth watching.

The film opens with Audrey Bedford (Maureen Swanson) being released from prison after serving nine months for unknowingly carrying stolen diamonds. She goes to the home of her stepsister, Dora (Sandra Dorne). Dora is a buxom peroxide blonde living in a mews house, who keeps a French maid. In 1960 she would have been called a ‘good-time girl’, nowadays we would just say ‘high class hooker’ and have done with it. Initially turning Audrey away, Dora is surprised when her ‘gentleman friend’, Lacey Marshalt (Allan Cuthbertson) asks Dora to bring her along to a party at his home. At the party Marshalt complains about his next-door neighbour, the reclusive Mr Malpas.

In the next scene, Laker (Edward Cast), rings Malpas’s doorbell. A grating, mechanical voice tells him to come in and the front door opens and closes behind him automatically. Once inside a bare lightbulb turns on by itself, revealing a derelict cobweb strewn house. Going upstairs, another door opens and Laker walks into the room. Blinded by a spotlight he can barely see Malpas sitting behind a desk. He has information. An old enemy of Malpas, South African diamond millionaire Torrington (Geoffrey Keen), has been released from prison (where Malpas sent him) and is in London seeking revenge. Suitably rewarded, Laker is about to leave but freezes in fear as he reaches the front door. Fade out…

The rest of the plot is easily disposed of. Lacey Marshalt has recognized Audrey as Torrington’s lost daughter. Hoping to come into Torrington's fortune, Marshalt persuades Dora to pose as Audrey. Torrington, however, is not fooled by the fraud. Audrey, meanwhile, has been employed as a typist/secretary by Malpas. A detective, Dick Shannon (Ronald Howard), who has always believed in her innocence, accompanies her to the Malpas house. Shots are heard, the couple find Marshalt dead and no sign of Malpas. After calling for help, Marshalt’s body has disappeared. He is found in his own home, alive and well, saying Malpas shot him but fortunately he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

Audrey is now employed by Torrington himself, who recognises his daughter from a scar on her arm. Marshalt plans to marry Audrey, inherit Torrington’s millions, dispose of her and live happily ever after with Dora. Audrey refuses his proposal and he kidnaps her. Torrington is then called by Malpas and told that if he wants to see his daughter again he has to pay. Just as things get nasty, the trusty Dick arrives, frees Torrington and pursues Malpas to the roof. After a shoot-out Malpas falls to his death and is revealed as… Marshalt! Torrington and Dick find and release Audrey, then Dick makes his own proposal which Audrey seems more inclined to accept.

More than a few coincidences here but there is a nice red herring involving Alan Tilvern as an apparently shady figure (with a dreadful mid-Atlantic accent) who provides the sexist tagline for this review (sorry, but it’s such a good line). One of the best touches is the atmosphere of the Malpas house which is well conveyed as both creepy and threatening, and Malpas himself as the type of all-knowing, subtly powerful villains we saw in the early Bond films (Dr No, Goldfinger).

The cast are efficient and carry their roles off very well. There are no major stars, just good character actors who know what is expected of them. Only Ronald Howard looks a bit too old (and, frankly, dull) to interest Audrey.

One of the best of the ‘Edgar Wallace’ series (if we accept it as one of the series), The Malpas Mystery is very impressively filmed for a cheap second feature and a step above the rather flat and boring items of the same period.

Reviewer: Enoch Sneed

 

This review has been viewed 3651 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Jason Cook
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: