Twenty years ago, old Mrs. Barlow was killed in her home at 12, Pimlico Square for her priceless rubies. The murderer searched the whole house without finding them, then disappeared. The house has been empty since then, but now Paul and Bella Mallen move into the apartment. Bella Mallen suffers from forgetfulness and nervousness - at least that is what her husband tells her.
Although 1944’s higher-profile remake attracted more interest, the original version of this 19th century melodrama remains the far superior of the two. Taken from a play by Rope writer Patrick Hamilton, Anton Walbrook is the scheming husband who convinces his mousey wife (Diana Wynyard) that she is going mad, after the pair move into a house where a murder occurred some 15 years previously. Director Thorold Dickinson memorably captures the stifling Victorian claustrophobia, and catapulted Walbrook into leading man status. His villain is one of the most chilling in movie history; obsessed by jewels hidden in the house, he will stop at nothing to find them, including sending his unfortunate spouse on a downward spiral of madness. Tense and taut, this is as gripping as a Victorian corset.
Ripping Victorian-set thriller
Reviewed by Patrick Humphries