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

Thursday, March 16, 2017


James Mason
THE UPTURNED GLASS (1947). Director: Lawrence Huntington.

Michael Joyce (James Mason) lectures to his class on the case of a murderer who was, he claims, perfectly sane and rational despite his homicidal actions, but it's no surprise that he's talking about himself -- only the murder has yet to occur. Joyce is in a loveless marriage when he meets Emma Wright (Rosamund John), whose daughter, Ann (Ann Stephens), requires an operation. Emma is married as well, but the two are drawn to one another. When a death occurs, Michael blames Kate Howard (Pamela Mason), Emma's hateful sister-in-law. Will Michael enact his scheme to do away with her? Few people have heard of The Upturned Glass despite Mason's starring role, and the reason is because it isn't very good. What might have worked for a half hour episode of, say, Suspense, doesn't work stretched out to full length, and the picture is padded with the character of a loathsome Dr. Farrell (Brefni O'Rorke) who is the very antithesis of the Hippocratic oath. At least the acting is good, with Mason [Caught] as excellent as ever, and the ladies and O'Rorke giving quite good performances. Billed as "Pamela Kellino," Pamela Mason was married to James Mason at the time. She later wound up in The Navy vs. the Night Monsters. One critic suggested that the forgettable Upturned Glass must have influenced Hitchcock's Vertigo because a woman with a fear of heights falls out of a window -- it's unlikely Hitch ever saw the film! Mason also co-produced the picture. Huntington also directed The Vulture, his final feature.

Verdict: Minor British suspense film distinguished by Mason's fine lead performance. **.


angelman66 said...

Have not heard of this one though I love James Mason. Will definitely go to see him with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in Hitchcock's North By Northwest when it plays on the big screen later this month...

William said...

Sounds good! N By NW is one of my all-time favorite movies. May pop in the DVD over the weekend!