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

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Dirk Bogarde and Susan Shaw
THE WOMAN IN QUESTION (aka Five Angles on Murder/1950). Director: Anthony Asquith.

Agnes Huston (Jean Kent), a woman who has a fortune-telling act as "Madame Astra," is found strangled in her home. Supt. Lodge (Duncan Macrae) and Inspector Butler (Joe Linnane) interview assorted suspects and seem to get very different impressions of the woman. A neighbor, Mrs. Finch (Hermione Baddeley), sees her as a warm and classy lady, while her sister, Catherine (Susan Shaw of Pool of London) sees her as a crude and hateful antagonist. Then there's Bob Baker (Dirk Bogarde of I Could Go On Singing), who wants to do a mind-reading act with Agnes but winds up engaged to Catherine. The kindly Albert Pollard (Charles Victor) does lots of favors for Agnes and becomes smitten with her, and the sailor Michael Murray (John McCallum) has a hankering for her as well. The Woman in Question is an absorbing mystery-drama that features excellent performances from the entire cast, with a special nod to Jean Kent, who also appeared to good advantage in The Browning Version the following year. The film illustrates the fact that every person we know or meet forms a different impression of us depending on their own personality, circumstances, and a variety of other factors. The killer may not come as a big surprise, but the film is still quite watchable. With his good looks and acting skill, Bogarde was clearly destined for major stardom and was already on his way. McCallum was not well-known to American audiences.

Verdict: Noteworthy British mystery with top-notch performances. ***.


angelman66 said...

Hi Bill, this looks good, and what a cast! Big fan of Dirk Bogarde, I just watched him again with Garland in I Could Go On Singing.
I will definitely seek this one out.
- C

William said...

I am a Bogarde fan, too -- trying to find copy of "The Servant" and "Accident" and a few others, as well as his memoirs. Great looking and fine actor.

angelman66 said...

I am surprised Criterion or someone hasn't released a deluxe version of The Servant - a brilliant brilliant film! And I also love Victim, the early gay-themed one from the early 1960s....

William said...

"Victim" was a highly influential film and while it has dated aspects, of course, it was, I believe, the first to deal at all sympathetically with the subject.