Wednesday 28 April 2010

The House on Carroll Street

The House on Carroll Street is an enjoyable film, directed by Peter Yates, and starring Kelly McGillis. It’s set in the America of the early 50s, and kicks off with the McGillis character, Emily Crane, being interrogated relentlessly by an un-American Activities committee because of her idealistic attachment to civil liberties. The bad guy is rather charmingly played by Mandy Patinkin, better known to me as a singer.

Emily loses her job, and takes up a rather thankless task, reading to a woman whose sight is failing. But she then overhears (rather conveniently, I felt – this was a rather clunky part of the plot) a conversation which incriminates Patinkin’s character. She befriends an illegal immigrant, who is soon murdered to ensure his silence about the conspiracy in which he’s embroiled.

Emily is pursued by the FBI, but one of her pursuers takes a liking to her, and they become lovers. It turns out that the US government is involved in shipping Nazi scientists into the country under false identities – but the real question is whether Emily can do anything about it.

The period detail seemed to me to be very well handled, and the pacing was pretty good. The story-line was okay without being brilliant, but I did think that McGillis was absolutely excellent. Her performance lifts the whole film, which culminates in a very good scene at Grand Central Station. Well worth watching.


Anonymous said...

Martin - Thanks for this review. I also liked Kelly McGillis very much in Witness, which I also recommend highly as a movie. Have you seen it? It's a wonderful film.

Elizabeth Foxwell said...

_The House on Carroll Street_ has its flaws, but it also has great Hitchcockian elements, such as the climatic scene in Grand Central Station.

Martin Edwards said...

Margot, I saw Witness when it first came out but I could do with seeing it again! I enjoyed it but can't remember the storyline.
Elizabeth, yes, it does have a Hitchcock feel at times.