7/10
The Cast's Ability To Create Well-Defined Characters Raises The Film Only A Trifle Above The Routine.
28 April 2012
A stage play having the same title, written by Cornish screenwriter William Fairchild (STAR!) is the basis for this film. The play has been produced frequently both in England and within the United States, with a broad range of critical opinion a result. This picture is similar to a performance given upon the boards, shot using videotape, and having but one single room set, while showcasing a small cast of six players. Not smoothly constructed, it is nonetheless generally engrossing, and at times amusing, despite its lack of a limit placed upon effects from the intervention of chance. Charles Norbury (Michael Moriarty) is a successful author of stories for small children, but the lively books that he has penned for tots are not reflective upon his own personality, one that is unpleasantly sardonic. His wife, Anne (Joanna Miles), having had her fill of his acrimony, has taken a lover, a United States Naval Commander, Peter Marriott, played by David Ackroyd. Norbury is aware of his wife's affair, but refuses to grant her a divorce. Marriott, thwarted by the stubbornness of Anne's husband, induces her to assist him in murdering Charles, her revulsion at the commission of such a desperate act weakened by her overwhelming affection for Peter who has configured a complex plot to kill Norbury. However, the writer's personal secretary Ilene (Pippa Scott) becomes an unanticipatedly critical factor in the felonious arrangement, especially significant for a film having such obvious economy of means. Although there is only a sparse amount of dialogue that may be considered as freshly observed, the film is well photographed. An overage of flaws in logic and continuity eventually overwhelms what remains essentially a rather ordinary murder mystery. Any methods employed to create a mood of suspense are handy, since author Fairchild simply echoes his lines from the staged play that was first performed in 1959. A viewer may find only patchy interest in the film, at best, but there are spirited highlights, despite the production's being turned halfway through into quite a predictable affair that goes on for longer than it should. As the victim of the captioned crime, Moriarty seems to be enjoying himself, and Miles adds satisfactory depth to her too often mildewed lines.
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