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

Thursday, May 10, 2018


James Mason
I MET A MURDERER (1939). Director: Roy Kellino.

Mark Warrow (James Mason) works hard on his small farm where he lives with his wife, Martha (Sylvia Coleridge). Martha is old before her time, embittered, disappointed with her lot in life and with Mark for not giving her an easier kind of existence. Mark seems to understand his wife's disillusionment to a certain degree, but he loses it when she shoots the family dog. Mark goes on the run, where he encounters another woman, Jo (Pamela Kellino, later Mason) on the road. Mark keeps his dark secret, but is completely unaware that Jo has a surprising secret of her own ... Mason and Pamela were talented actors, and Kellino is not a bad director, but if only they had decided to leave the writing chores to others. I Met a Murderer rambles along as if it were scripted on the run, and none of the characters are developed enough to make you really care about anyone. Mason is not perfect casting for a farmer (!), but he's quite good, as usual, making the most of his brooding intensity. Coleridge and Kellino are both on the mark. William Devlin is effective in what really amounts to a silent role as Martha's brother, Jay. There are interesting things in the movie, but they never quite jell into a good picture, and although the film only lasts a little over an hour, it seems twice as long. Kellino also photographed Murderer, and makes good use of its bucolic settings. Composer Eric Ansell over-scores the picture as if it were a silent movie -- the music is often nice but there's just too much of it.

Verdict: Minor entry in the Mason canon. **.

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