25 June 2017

Stealing a film from Michael Gough ain't easy...

...but Ronald Howard kills it with his hipsterish vibe in The House in the Woods (1957).

Pipe + Siamese

I didn't even know people sat like this in the Fifties.

"Sherry or beer?"

 A spot of Larry Adler on the record player

"And this is the third room, which I used to have as a studio..."

This brief mystery film feels more like an episode of an Alfred Hitchcock Hour-type TV show (but even then a little padded). A hint of psycho-sexual, portrait-painting creepiness builds some sly suspense, but writer-director Maxwell Mundon makes nothing of the potentially eerie location. In fact, the scenes set in a Thameside apartment building have more atmosphere, thanks to "the Shellaley's perpetual party", a nonstop cocktail binge going down at the neighbours' flat. Still, the largely unseen McGuffins (poisonous mushrooms and something buried under a large rock) are pretty fun, and Howard and Gough make perfectly-matched sparring partners.

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