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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Kind Lady (1935)

A wealthy woman (Aline MacMahon) with a kind disposition proves an easy mark for a treacherous con man (Basil Rathbone) who tricks her into letting him and his "ill" wife (Justine Chase) into staying in her home until the wife recovers. But what was intended as an act of generosity turns into terror as the con man and his gang take over her house and terrorize her. Based on the play by Edward Chodorov and directed by George B. Seitz. This unsettling thriller offers Rathbone an opportunity to display his talent for elegant malevolence and a rare leading role for the character actress Aline MacMahon. It's a nail biter alright but I find myself irritated by people who let themselves be used and Rathbone's duplicity is fairly obvious right from the start and MacMahon's common sense seems to evaporate. Still, it's a necessary contrivance to get the narrative going I suppose. I just wish they didn't make her such a pushover dupe. Remade in 1951 by John Sturges. With Frank Albertson, Doris Lloyd, Dudley Digges, Donald Meek and Eily Malyon.

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