HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
Power of the Dog, The
StageFright
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
Suicide Squad, The
One Night in Miami...
   
 
Newest Articles
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
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
   
 
  Woman in Question, The Mixed Messages
Year: 1950
Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Jean Kent, Dirk Bogarde, John McCallum, Susan Shaw, Hermione Baddeley, Charles Victor, Duncan Macrae, Lana Morris, Joe Linnane, Vida Hope
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Madame Astra (Jean Kent) has been murdered! Strangled with her own silk scarf, she was discovered in her room at this boarding house in a seaside town on the south coast of England, the paperboy son of her landlady Mrs Finch (Hermione Baddeley) raising the alarm when he entered her lodgings to deliver her newspaper. But who was the culprit? The police are immediately called and Superintendent Lodge (Duncan Macrae) starts to work out who is a suspect and who is not, knowing he will have to interview a bunch of people who knew Astra, or Agnes as she was more commonly known away from her fortune telling job, to build up an accurate picture - or that was the idea.

In 1950 there was a film released that went on to be regarded as a classic for the way it took the form of the accounts of unreliable witnesses and left the audience to work out who was telling the truth. That film was Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, which was a landmark in Japanese cinema and opened the minds of moviegoers across the globe; meanwhile, The Woman in Question sank fairly quickly into obscurity apart from those dedicated fans of Britflicks who would have caught in on television or later, picked up the DVD, even though it had essentially the same format as the acknowledged classic from The Land of the Rising Sun. But were they really so comparable or not?

Much of what they had in common was the structure, both basically detective stories, though cultural differences and plot variations rendered them sufficiently diverse that you could not accuse one of copying the other. Besides, both were in production around the same time, so it was simply one of those curious coincidences that can happen in the film industry, as improbable as that can often seem in a business where originality that succeeds is almost always pounced on and flogged to death artistically or commercially (or both). This effort was never going to overshadow Kurosawa, though at the time its director Anthony Asquith was possibly the most famous British director aside from Alfred Hitchcock.

While Asquith's name on the credits was regularly regarded a sure mark of quality, latterly he was dismissed as a stuffy exponent of self-proclaimed integrity, creating inoffensive prestige pictures for the masses who did not know any better, and would certainly not have sought out a Kurosawa production. While that may have been accurate to an extent, he was by no means a dead loss to vintage movie fans watching in the following century, as this showed, as it demonstrated a genuinely innovative air where the thrill of trying something ambitious was evident in the energy with which Asquith and his team set about it. With five versions of the same characters to get through, it was a field day for his cast as well, who got to show off what they were made of as far as thespianism went.

Leading this charge was Kent, a popular star of ripe melodrama where she specialised in over the top heroines and bad girls which made her the in thing for about ten years; this was somewhere near the end of her heyday, though she remained active in film and television for decades after. When we first clap eyes on her in flashback, she is an idealised, fraightfully posh graduate of the Rank Charm School, and you think you're in for one of those staid British dramas that damned the industry to the shadow of Hollywood for decades, but then we see another view of Agnes, and she is a slovenly slattern, Kent amusingly playing this to the hilt. There was more, and her co-stars Dirk Bogarde (beginning his rise to superstardom, as her boyfriend who may or may not be American), Susan Shaw (as her sister, a promising starlet whose early widowhood ruined her career and life, tragically) and Hermione Baddeley had just as much fun with their portrayals. With the crucial clue provided by a parrot, this was not entirely serious, but the theme of how one person can be many depending on who they are with was neatly conveyed in a pleasing mystery drama. Music by John Wooldridge.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2351 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
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: