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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Daughter Of Darkness (1948)

In a small Irish village, a young girl (Siobhan McKenna) is ostracized by the women of the community for no good reason other than she's like catnip to the male populace. The parish priest (Liam Redmond), who seems to be repressing his own sexual attraction to her, arranges for her to be sent to England to work for an English family. And it is here that she undergoes a transformation from a victim to a homicidal psychotic. The film is ambiguous toward McKenna. Is she a victim of circumstance as her homicidal behavior doesn't exhibit itself until after she is raped or does the maleficence go back further to her childhood of which we know nothing about other than a doll which may be her "Rosebud". As a character, she's much more sympathetic than the so called "good" people like her employer Anne Crawford who takes an immediate dislike to her for no good reason. The wonderful Irish actress McKenna, probably best known as Mary in Nick Ray's KING OF KINGS, has very few films to her credit (she was mainly a stage actress) which is a pity because she's excellent here. It's a strange film, part Gothic horror, part country noir. Directed by Lance Comfort from a play by Max Catto. With Honor Blackman, Barry Morse and Maxwell Reed.

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