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

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Richard Attenborough as Reg Christie

10 RILLINGTON PLACE (1971). Director: Richard Fleischer.

Timothy Evans (John Hurt), his wife, Beryl (Judy Geeson), and their baby take an apartment in a building owned by Reggie Christie (Richard Attenborough). The Evanses don't know that Christie is in the habit of gassing and strangling women when his wife is out of town. Timothy goes into a panic when he learns that Beryl is expecting a second child they can't afford, but she assures him that she'll "take care" of it. Christie, who claims to have certain medical knowledge from his service in the Army,  offers to help ... and that's when the lives of the couple spiral downward into a nightmare of horror and despair. Based on a true story and filmed on the dreary location of the events, 10 Rillington Place expertly examines a terrible miscarriage of justice, as well as the life of a conscienceless sociopath and those whose lives he touches. Attenborough offers a first-rate performance as Christie, and Hurt, if not quite in the same league, has some very, very good moments. Geeson and Pat Heywood as Christie's wife are also notable. Hurt later became famous for the chest-burster scene in Alien. Attenborough appeared in Jurassic Park and directed Gandhi, among others. He gave another superb performance in The Flight of the Phoenix. Fleischer's most famous movie is probably Fantastic Voyage.

Verdict: Completely absorbing true crime drama. ***1/2.

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