HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Birth of the Dragon
Revenge of the Pink Panther
Thelma
Stratton
February
Taking of Beverly Hills, The
Marjorie Prime
Hotel Salvation
Mangler, The
Shiraz
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
   
 
Newest Articles
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
   
 
  Woman in Question, The Mixed MessagesBuy this film here.
Year: 1950
Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Jean Kent, Dirk Bogarde, John McCallum, Susan Shaw, Hermione Baddeley, Charles Victor, Duncan Macrae, Lana Morris, Joe Linnane, Vida Hope
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Madame Astra (Jean Kent) has been murdered! Strangled with her own silk scarf, she was discovered in her room at this boarding house in a seaside town on the south coast of England, the paperboy son of her landlady Mrs Finch (Hermione Baddeley) raising the alarm when he entered her lodgings to deliver her newspaper. But who was the culprit? The police are immediately called and Superintendent Lodge (Duncan Macrae) starts to work out who is a suspect and who is not, knowing he will have to interview a bunch of people who knew Astra, or Agnes as she was more commonly known away from her fortune telling job, to build up an accurate picture - or that was the idea.

In 1950 there was a film released that went on to be regarded as a classic for the way it took the form of the accounts of unreliable witnesses and left the audience to work out who was telling the truth. That film was Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, which was a landmark in Japanese cinema and opened the minds of moviegoers across the globe; meanwhile, The Woman in Question sank fairly quickly into obscurity apart from those dedicated fans of Britflicks who would have caught in on television or later, picked up the DVD, even though it had essentially the same format as the acknowledged classic from The Land of the Rising Sun. But were they really so comparable or not?

Much of what they had in common was the structure, both basically detective stories, though cultural differences and plot variations rendered them sufficiently diverse that you could not accuse one of copying the other. Besides, both were in production around the same time, so it was simply one of those curious coincidences that can happen in the film industry, as improbable as that can often seem in a business where originality that succeeds is almost always pounced on and flogged to death artistically or commercially (or both). This effort was never going to overshadow Kurosawa, though at the time its director Anthony Asquith was possibly the most famous British director aside from Alfred Hitchcock.

While Asquith's name on the credits was regularly regarded a sure mark of quality, latterly he was dismissed as a stuffy exponent of self-proclaimed integrity, creating inoffensive prestige pictures for the masses who did not know any better, and would certainly not have sought out a Kurosawa production. While that may have been accurate to an extent, he was by no means a dead loss to vintage movie fans watching in the following century, as this showed, as it demonstrated a genuinely innovative air where the thrill of trying something ambitious was evident in the energy with which Asquith and his team set about it. With five versions of the same characters to get through, it was a field day for his cast as well, who got to show off what they were made of as far as thespianism went.

Leading this charge was Kent, a popular star of ripe melodrama where she specialised in over the top heroines and bad girls which made her the in thing for about ten years; this was somewhere near the end of her heyday, though she remained active in film and television for decades after. When we first clap eyes on her in flashback, she is an idealised, fraightfully posh graduate of the Rank Charm School, and you think you're in for one of those staid British dramas that damned the industry to the shadow of Hollywood for decades, but then we see another view of Agnes, and she is a slovenly slattern, Kent amusingly playing this to the hilt. There was more, and her co-stars Dirk Bogarde (beginning his rise to superstardom, as her boyfriend who may or may not be American), Susan Shaw (as her sister, a promising starlet whose early widowhood ruined her career and life, tragically) and Hermione Baddeley had just as much fun with their portrayals. With the crucial clue provided by a parrot, this was not entirely serious, but the theme of how one person can be many depending on who they are with was neatly conveyed in a pleasing mystery drama. Music by John Wooldridge.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 211 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: