Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 1, 2017


Phyllis Calvert
THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL (1947). Director: Brock Williams.

Jackie (Phyllis Calvert) is one of two daughters of a struggling farmer named Farnish (Brefni O'Rorke of The Upturned Glass). She is engaged to a pleasant fellow named Albert (Hubert Gregg), whose unpleasant father, George Grice (Arthur Young), talks the weak man into marrying someone else. Grice also refuses to loan Jackie money for her father, so they have to auction off the farm (including the family dog!). Devastated, Jackie makes up her mind to get money and power and get her revenge on Grice. She is torn between two men, Joe, (John McCallum of The Woman in Question), an honest farm worker who loves her; and Charles (Michael Rennie), who goes into business with her. But will her rise into a world of wealth and power only lead to tragedy? The Root of All Evil, a standard rags to riches/revenge story, would have been a lot more entertaining had it starred, say, Joan Crawford, who could have really slapped home those bitter, angry lines with aplomb. Phyllis Calvert [They Were Sisters] is a good, but less interesting actress, at least in this type of role. The other performers are fine, including Hazel Court as her sister; Moore Marriott as Scholes, a landowner with a grudge; and especially Arthur Young as the venal if ultimately pathetic Grice. There's an exciting climax with a fire and some redemption for at least one character.

Verdict: Routine in all departments. **.

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