Cast a Dark Shadow (1955)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller, Film Noir  |   Release Date - Sep 20, 1955 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Cast a Dark Shadow is a lesser known woman-in-peril flick that devotees of the genre should search out. While it's not a great film, it's quite entertaining, and its relative obscurity should make it a nice change of pace outing for those who know all the classics of this type by heart. Shadow is kept from being more than just a good film by its screenplay, which has some logic holes that are bothersome. (For example, if Dirk Bogarde knows that his wife is about to change her will in his favor, why doesn't he wait to kill her until after she has had a chance to make that all important change?) Also, while director Lewis Gilbert and writer John Cresswell have done a decent job of opening the original play up for the screen, it still has moments that feel too stagebound. However, none of this matters terribly much when the plot really kicks in -- and even when the script is a little off, one still has the cast to admire. Bogarde is quite good as the duplicitous killer, Mona Washbourne has some wonderful moments as his first wife, as does Kay Walsh as someone who isn't quite what she seems to be. But the best performance is given by Margaret Lockwood, vulgarized and tawdrified and playing it for all it's worth. Lockwood also makes sure her character has more dimensions than that, however, playing up her native intelligence and good sense, as well as giving her a touching vulnerability beneath her tough exterior. It's a terribly entertaining performance, and by itself if worth the price of admission.