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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dr. Crippen (1962)

A meek doctor (Donald Pleasence) married to a virago of a wife (Coral Browne, AUNTIE MAME) with a voracious sexual appetite, falls in love with a pretty secretary (Samantha Eggar). The wife refuses to give him a divorce so he begins to contemplate murder. Based on the true story of the murder case of Hawley Harvey Crippen (the wife's body was dismembered and buried in the cellar) who proclaimed his innocence to the end, the Robert Lynn directed film is a fairly straightforward telling of the case done through flashbacks during the murder trial. It's such a sensationalistic, morbid "true crime" tale that it can't help but hold your interest but as cinema, there's nothing exceptional about it. Pleasence is very good though it's never quite clear what the youthful and pretty Eggar sees in the middle aged fish eyed mild mannered Pleasence. The crisp B&W cinematography is by Nicholas Roeg who would soon go on to be a director of repute himself. With James Robertson Justice and the hammy Donald Wolfit.

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