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Dragonwyck

USA 1946
produced by
Ernst Lubitsch, Darryl F. Zanuck for 20th Century Fox
directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
starring Gene Tierney, Vincent Price, Glenn Langan, Walter Huston, Anne Revere, Spring Byington, Connie Marshall, Harry Morgan, Vivienne Osborne, Jessica Tandy, Trudy Marshall, Betty Fairfax, Keith Hitchcock, Jamie Dana, Scott Elliott, Tom Fadden, Ruth Ford, Michael Garrison, Boyd Irving, Virginia Lee, Jane Nigh, Francis Pierlot, Mickey Roth, Reinhold Schünzel, David Vallard, Maya Van Horn, Douglas Wood
screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, based on a story by Anne Seton, music by Alfred Newman

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The midst of the 1800's: Connecticut farmgirl Miranda (Gene Tierney) is invited by distant cousin Nicholas (Vincent Price) - a rich patroon from New York State, who owns half a county in land which he loans out to local farmers for a price - to spend some time with him and his family as a companion for his daughter Katrine (Connie Marshall), a girl who's a little neglected by her parents. Miranda is of course suitably impressed by Nicholas' family estate, especially since she has all of her life dreamed of being a princess, and even though she, the farmgirl whose family has always owned their land, doesn't share his political views (he views himself as almost-royalty) and is disappointed by Nicholas' lack of faith to the Lord, she also adores him.

It isn't long after Miranda has arrived that Nicholas' wife (Vivienne Osborne) dies, and while she tries to help him over the grief about his loss, the two become closer and closer and eventually fall in love. Now it's not long before they are married, and before you know it, Miranda is expecting, expecting the son Nicholas has always wanted. Unfortunately though, the baby dies soon after birth, which is a blow to Nicholas, and when the gouvernment decides to get rid of patroons altogether and forces him to sell his land to his farmers, that almost breaks him, and he spends more and more time in his secret chamber in the tower of his mansion. One day, Miranda intrudes and finds out he is taking drugs to come over his misfortune.

Eventually, Miranda falls ill, and since Nicholas couldn't care less, her club-footed maid Peggy (Jessica Tandy) fetches local doctor Turner (Glenn Langan), who has always had a soft spot for Miranda, and who now notices some parallels between Miranda's illness and Nicholas' first wife's death - and comes to the conclusion Nicholas is trying to poison Miranda.

Confronted with what the doctor has found out, Nicholas goes half mad, and his drugs certainly don't help either, and eventually, when the authorities show up, he pulls a gun simply because he thinks he has the right to, and is shot dead on the spot.

Miranda realizes only now that the beautiful dream of becoming a princess has turned into a horrible reality, and she leaves her deceased husband's estate for her family's farm with nothing more than she has come with ...

 

At times a very tense thriller/drama with some horror elements, Dragonwyck nevertheless fails to fully convince, first and foremost because at 100 minutes, it takes a bit too long to tell its story, and thus pads it out with quite a few too many subplots, spends too much time setting up the story, and every now and again loses its proper pace, so much so that the film's climax lacks the intensity it could have had and the film as a whole is lower on suspense than expected. Still, the whole thing is beautifully made and well acted so as to by no means waste your time anyhow.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD