A romantic drama from Twentieth Century-Fox with requisite dependable Stateside actors Dana Andrews and Maureen O’Hara heading the cast to boost overseas marketing. This compulsive adaptation of Margery Sharp’s excellent but grim study of Victorian class relationships is striking and original, but undermined by the peculiar casting of Andrews in a dual role as two husbands. The real star of this odd film is Dame Sybil Thorndike, giving an impeccable performance as a wretched blackmailing old hag.
Middle-class Victorian young lady Adelaide Culver has always been fascinated by the adjacent working-class slum Britannia Mews, and when she falls in love with her impoverished art teacher, Henry Lambert, they move into the Mews together when her parents refuse to consent to their marriage. Unfortunately, Addie never heeded her new husband’s warning that he ‘drinks like a fish’, and late realises she has married a ne’er-do-well adulterous alcoholic who never loved her. When the inebriated Henry returns home one day, he drunkenly falls down the steps to an accidental death. An old hag from across the street, Mrs. Mounsey, steps forward as a witness for the police, but then begins to blackmail Addie for ten shillings per week.
Addie becomes hardened to her new environment and loses much of her former poise and dignity; that is until she meets a man who looks identical to her deceased husband, former barrister Gilbert Lauderdale. Lauderdale deals with the blackmailing Mounsey and quickly moves in as Addie’s lodger.Together they unearth Henry’s beloved puppets, and with the assistance of puppeteer Mr. Bly, open a popular marionette theatre. —Britmovie.co.uk
Jean Negulseco ran away to Vienna, Austria in 1915, and by 1919 had established himself as a painter in Bucharest, Romania. He later worked as a stage decorator in Paris. He came to New York for an exhibition of his paintings in 1927 and stayed. He entered the movie industry in 1934 as an assistant producer and later became a second unit director on pictures such as Captain Blood and A Farewell To Arms. He spent much of the middle and late 1930s as an associate director and screenwriter (including the original story for the Laurel and Hardy musical comedy Swiss Miss). He made two-reel shorts at Warner Bros., and was given his abortive feature directorial debut in 1941’s Singapore Woman, from which he was removed but retained credit as director. In the early days of 1942, he took over direction (including the denouement) of Across The Pacific from John Huston when Huston was called up for military service. The Mask of Dimetrios (1944) was Negulesco’s formal debut, and proved successful… read more