Date Released : 3 June 1966
Genre : Crime, Drama
Stars : Donald Pleasence, Coral Browne, Samantha Eggar, Donald Wolfit
Movie Quality : BRrip
Format : MKV
Size : 700 MB
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A dramatization of Britain's notorious Crippen murder case. American-born Hawley Harvey Crippen (nicknamed "Peter"), a mild-mannered, middle-aged doctor who made his living in London selling quack remedies, was convicted and hanged in 1910 for poisoning his wife, Belle, dismembering her body and burying the remains in the coal cellar of their home before fleeing England with his mistress, Ethel Le Neve, only to be arrested aboard ship while en route to North America. The movie opens with the start of Crippen's trial in the Old Bailey; flashbacks provide a look at the misery of Crippen's marriage to the overbearing Belle, a failed music-hall performer with an eye for younger men, and how Crippen found true love in the person of his young secretary, until events reached their dreadful climax. That Crippen caused his wife's death, there is little doubt, but this movie wonders: Was it a deliberate act?
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A dour little movie, with flat out ugly photography and ill-matched pairings. In short, the 90- minutes is something of an ordeal to sit through, that is, if you have the usual movie expectations. I don't know what the director told lead actor Pleasance (Crippen), but he acts like he swallowed a lemon throughout, even when in the loving company of the luscious Eggar (Ethel). I know he's supposed to be repressed, but his permanent paralysis appears unreal. Then too, seeing this unpleasant little middle-aged man paired with the lovely young Eggar amounts to more than a stretch. Then there's Belle (Brown), his boisterously unfaithful wife. About five-minutes into the film and I was hoping someone would strangle her and rescue my ears. The movie's only mystery is why it took him so long.
The case itself, from books I've read, was pretty much open-and-shut against the doctor. Certainly he had reasons to commit the crime, which coincides with the movie. However, I suspect the element of doubt about his intentions that the movie introduces was an invention to add a provocative note to an otherwise unremarkable screenplay. Certainly, Crippen is presented as a somewhat sympathetic character by movie's end, which looks like a belated effort to humanize an otherwise one-note performance. Anyhow, the lead characters come across more like stereotypes than real people. And that along with the truly grim-faced production amounts to a forgettable movie experience.