Friday, 4 November 2011

That Woman Opposite

Today - a forgotten film, based on a relatively forgotten book. I have John Curran to thank for recommending that I take a look at a 1957 black and white mystery movie, That Woman Opposite (the title seems very dated now, doesn't it?) I'd never heard of it before, nor did I realise that a John Dickson Carr novel had been adapted for film. The book was The Emperor's Snuffbox, which I haven't read, so I'm not sure if it's faithful to the original.

The cast is very good. Wilfred Hyde White, whom I always enjoyed watching, plays an old buffer who collects pricey antiques. His son is played by Jack Watling, who long ago starred in a TV series called The Plane Makers which I distantly recall my Dad watching avidly. And his daughter is played by...Petula Clark, whom I associate more with that great song 'Downtown'.

The old chap witnesses a crime committed by a bad hat (William Franklyn, best known for the Schweppes ads of the 60s) who is the ex-husband of a pretty woman who is engaged to the priggish son. An insurance investigator takes a shine to her, and we can bet that sooner or later she will succumb to his charm, even though she is about to marry. And then the old chap is murdered, and she becomes the prime suspect.

The story moves along at a decent pace, and although the mystery was more inconsequential than I'd expected (not a locked room in sight) I enjoyed it a lot. One of the better period pieces of its era, I'd say, and if you're looking for an agreeable piece of light entertainment, I'd recommend it to you, as John did to me.


Deb said...

Petulia Clark started out as an child actress. It was only when she essentially fired her manager-father that she was able to concentrate on her singing career. My favorite of hers is "Don't Sleep in the Subway."

aguja said...

Sounds great, Martin. I will look out for it.
Petula Clarke eh! I saw her one and half times a day in 'Finnegan's Rainbow' with Tommy Steel, whaen I worked as an usherette during college days.

Incidentally, it is my guest post on Spangle's blog this Saturday.

Martin Edwards said...

Deb, thanks. I like 'Subway', but my absolute favourite is 'Downtown', a brilliant song.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Aguja. An usherette? Must have been an interesting job! Look forward to your guest post. If you fancy doing a guest post here, let me know.