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

Thursday, October 1, 2009


UNCLE SILAS (1947). Director: Charles Frank.

Caroline Ruthyn (Jean Simmons, pictured) finds herself at the mercy of her rather batty Uncle Silas (Derrick De Marney) and his psychotic son after her father dies and she becomes the ward of Silas -- who has serious debts. But even more threatening is the very weird governess Madame de la Rouggiere (Katina Paxinou), who is positively monstrous. This adaptation of a Sheridan Le Fanu gothic novel tries very hard to be atmospheric and sinister and classy, and it nearly succeeds some of the time, but it also has a decided second-rate quality to it that nothing can disguise. The acting is very good, however, with Jean Simmons perfect as the [rather slow] heroine and Paxinou marvelous as the evil Madame, who shows up again at an unexpected moment. Marjorie Rhodes has a small role and there isn't enough of her. The ultimate effect is one of tedium.

Verdict: Strange, rather dull movie despite all the goings-on. **.

No comments: