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Thursday, September 7, 2017

10 Rillington Place (1971)

A British serial killer (Richard Attenborough) renders his victims unconscious, strangles them and rapes them. When a young married couple (John Hurt, Judy Geeson) move into the third floor flat along with their baby daughter, he selects her as his next victim. But that murder will eventually lead to a terrible miscarriage of justice which in turn will end capital punishment in the United Kingdom. Based on the non fiction book by Clive Exton and directed by Richard Fleischer (20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA). This is a rather unpleasant sordid "thriller" but considering its subject matter, how could it not be? It's extremely well done although I had major problems with the film. Attenborough is excellent but perhaps too good as he's so creepy that you wonder how anyone would rent an apartment from him and not automatically get out as fast as they can. Hurt's character is dumb as a rock and so complicit in his own fatal end that it's hard to drum up much sympathy even if he is innocent. The only character I felt sorry for was Geeson's downtrodden wife. Its reviews were mixed when it opened but its reputation has grown in the ensuing years. It's a very good movie. I just wish I could have liked it more. With Pat Heywood and Andre Morell. 

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