HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
   
 
Newest Articles
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
   
 
  Tam Lin Wee cow'ring timorous beastie
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, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
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 10827 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: