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Friday, April 30, 2010

Crescendo (1970)

Weird, slightly kinky Hammer horror yarn has a young grad student (Stefanie Powers) doing a thesis on a deceased composer while a guest of his widow (Margaretta Scott) and her wheelchair bound son (James Olson) in France. But everything is not as it seems. The widow insists Powers dress in a dead woman’s clothes, the son has schizophrenic mood shifts, the maid (Jane Lapotaire) has blackmail plans and the butler (Joss Ackland) is there to protect the ugly family secret (which is easily guessed). With the exception of one genuinely shocking moment, there aren’t many thrills to be had. Powers' naive heroine seems unnecessarily slow on the uptake as the audience is always one step ahead of her. The film moves along nicely but the director, Alan Gibson (A WOMAN CALLED GOLDA), can't seem to establish the menacing atmosphere necessary to such efforts.

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