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

Thursday, April 7, 2016


Lock Up Your Valuables: Margaret Lockwood
THE WICKED LADY (1945). Director: Leslie Arliss.

"How can I fail to love a man as rich as he is?" --  Barbara Worth.

Sir Ralph Skelton (Griffith Jones) is engaged to lovely Caroline (Patricia Roc), when her cousin, Barbara (Margaret Lockwood), shows up and manages to steal Ralph away from her. After the marriage the somewhat masochistic Caroline stays on to help run the estate. Barbara becomes a little careless and in a card game loses an heirloom, a beautiful necklace that belonged to her mother, to the unctuous Henrietta (Enid Stamp-Taylor). Hearing of a notorious highwayman who robs coaches, Barbara decides to emulate him to get the heirloom back and for excitement continues her career as  a masked desperado. The Wicked Lady seems to take a weird turn at this point, but that's when things get really interesting, with Barbara falling in love with the highwayman, Captain Jerry Jackson (James Mason) even as her husband, Ralph, pursues the both of them without knowing her true identity. The performances from the entire cast, including Felix Aylmer [Never Take Candy from a Stranger] as the pious servant, Hogarth, are excellent; the movie has a fast pace; and the situations that develop are suspenseful and fascinating, Lockwood [Hungry Hill] and Mason [Child's Play] make a great team -- the two appeared together in the terrible A Place of One's Own -- and Michael Rennie delivers in a small but significant role as another man who falls in love with Barbara.

Verdict: Dark and twisted romantic melodrama with excellent performances. ***1/2,


angelman66 said...

I recently saw the remake of this starring Faye Dunaway, and didn't care for it. Faye, post-Mommie Dearest, was very mannered, dominating the proceedings, and a turnoff. I think I'd enjoy this one more.

William said...

I completely forgot about this! Faye Dunaway? Mannered? How could it be? Ha, ha. Seriously, I haven't seen the remake but I doubt if it's half as good as the original. May check out the remake anyway; maybe it's good for a few laughs!