Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 1953. Allied Artists Pictures. Screenplay by Daniel B. Ullman, based on the novel by Maurice Sandoz. Cinematography by Harry Neumann. Produced by Richard V. Heermance. Music by Marlin Skiles. Production Design by William Cameron Menzies. Film Editing by John C. Fuller.
A woman is enjoying a happy relationship with her fiancé when he is called away by the announcement of the death of a distant relative, whose estate he has inherited in Scotland. When he writes her a letter releasing her from their engagement, she grabs her spinster aunt and heads to his village to get to the bottom of the mystery. What she finds is a sparsely-staffed castle whose architectural centerpiece is an elaborate hedge maze (one which the plot does not quite use to full effect), while at night there’s more than a few strange things happening. It’s a shallow version of an Agatha Christie mystery, but directed with stylish fun by William Cameron Menzies and some of the performances are terrific. The eventual cause of all the fuss is ridiculous to the point of campy hilarity, but you’ll have a good time getting there, the main drawback being atrociously performed on-screen narration by Katherine Emery as the stock character spinster.