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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tam Lin (aka The Devil's Widow) (1970)

A mysterious but incredibly wealthy older woman (Ava Gardner) surrounds herself with a crowd of wanton, beautiful young people. Her ability to control them suggests that she may be a witch. But when her latest lover (Ian McShane) falls in love with the vicar's daughter (Stephanie Beacham), even her powers may not be strong enough to destroy the romance. The only film directed by actor Roddy McDowell looks great. McDowell has an eye (he was an excellent still photographer) and aided by Billy Williams (an Oscar winner for GANDHI), they make superb use of the Scottish locations. But it's a silly film! Based on a Scottish folk legend, it teases us with the supernatural without ever actually committing to it. What we end up with is a bunch of drug induced decadent swinging young Londoners living off an older woman and acting like a bunch of ninnies! It's fun at first to see Gardner (who looks great) exuding old time movie star glamour as she floats around in her Balmain costumes but it grows tedious very quickly. The hapless McShane is defeated by his underwritten character and dialog and the sultry Beacham is miscast as the virginal vicar's daughter. With Joanna Lumley, Cyril Cusack, Sinead Cusack, Richard Wattis and Peter Hinwood.

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