HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
   
 
Newest Articles
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
   
 
  Tam Lin Wee cow'ring timorous beastieBuy this film here.
Year: 1971
Director: Roddy McDowall
Stars: Ava Gardner, Ian McShane, Stephanie Beacham, Richard Wattis, Cyril Cusack, David Whitman, Sinéad Cusack, Joanna Lumley, Jenny Hanley, Madeline Smith, Bruce Robinson
Genre: Horror, Weirdo
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: A languid, hallucinatory gem, and the only film to have been directed by one of this website’s heroes, Mr. Roddy McDowall, Tam Lin (a.k.a. The Devil’s Widow) had a troubled production history, received a belated and brief late-1970s release, and has since disappeared without trace. A great shame, for this updating of Robert Burns’ ‘The Ballad Of Tam Lin’ to the age of Aquarius deserves to be seen, for a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of young Brit starlets, endless bon mots and waspish dialogue, and a thrilling horror/chase climax every bit the equal of the flight of the children in Charles Laughton’s The Night Of The Hunter.

Anglicised to ‘Tom Lynn’, the male lead here is a pre-Lovejoy Ian McShane, in the days when he was something of a hot property and burgeoning star - Tom forms part of the entourage of sophisticated Michaela Cazaret (Ava Gardner), a middle-aged land owner who surrounds herself with a collection of bright young things, seemingly to ensure she remains similarly youthful and contemporary herself. The scene is slowly but carefully set, as life at Mrs. Cazaret’s Scottish retreat appears to be a permanent round of relaxation, wine-drinking, and party games, interspersed with cutting comments from the acid tongue of Joanna Lumley or the world-weary viewpoint of Michaela’s camp male secretary Elroy (a magnificent Richard Wattis in the role he was born to play). The delicious Maddy Smith is even heard to squeal “I’ll swallow anything as long as it’s illegal”, summing up the decadent atmosphere in a single phrase while simultaneously managing to thrill every red-blooded male in the audience!

Tom makes the potentially fatal error of falling in love with the daughter of the local vicar (she’s played by Stephanie Beacham, so why not?); Elroy delivers a coded warning that such romantic behaviour will not be tolerated by their mutual benefactress, and that previous stray members of the household have wound up as victims of terrible road accidents (“you wouldn’t believe…that a face could spread so wide”, slimes Elroy, while displaying an horrific photo of one such calamity!), but Tom is smitten. Any doubt in his mind is settled when Tom discovers that his pregnant lover has travelled to Edinburgh for an abortion; but meanwhile, Mrs. Cazaret has callously replaced her set of young swingers with an equally obnoxious bunch of new hangers-on, and the deadliest party game of all is about to commence, a chilling pursuit through daunting pitch-black woodland, with Tom, now drugged and experiencing a series of wild visions, as the prey…

Tam Lin may seem sluggish and uneventful on first acquaintance, but is a movie which gets better as it progresses and improves immeasurably on repeat viewings, giving the opportunity to savour the ambience (mellow with a hint of bile) and the genteel savagery of this bitter and twisted group of frightful individuals. If Gimme Shelter signified the ‘end of the 60s’ in movie terms, this film perhaps offers the first hint that hippies turn into cabinet ministers when they grow up, and, as early as 1971, predicts the worst excesses of the ‘greed is good’ 80s. As for that alternate title The Devil’s Widow, such billing is fully justified by Gardner’s grasping, evil performance, especially during a sly coda which repays careful attention.
Reviewer: Darrell Buxton

 

This review has been viewed 9806 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


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 star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: