Movie Review By Monica Sullivan
I've never understood why talented Jean Kent didn't become a bigger star than she did. She was attractive in an evil, insolent, menacing sort of way that was just right for noir films like this one. For that matter, I've never understood why this fine Anthony Asquith film isn't better known than it is, either. Jean Kent is a fortune teller named Astra, who is already dead when the story begins. Who done it? Was it her sister Catherine & her fiancee Bob Baker? (Susan Shaw & Dirk Bogarde) Was it the charlady? (Hermione Baddeley) How about a shopkeeper named Pollard (Charles Victor) or Murray the sailor? (John McCallum) Each has a different story to tell & Astra seems to be a different person to every one of them.
It's a terrific part far any actress & Kent makes the most of it. She's so good that it's stunning to realize that Kent, only 29, had just one more success with Asquith (1951's "The Browning Version") before her career sunk into a downward slide from which it never recovered. By 1957 and 1958, she was WAY down on the cast list in "The Prince and the Showgirl" & "Bonjour Tristesse". Kent kept working (she can be seen in a bit in 1976's "Shout at the Devil") and I even saw an actress billed as Jean Kent in a "Lovejoy" episode, but she looked nothing at all like an aging fortune teller once known as Astra. Other Kent titles on video: "Man of Evil", "Madonna of the Seven Moons" "The Wicked Lady", "The Magic Bow", "Sleeping Car To Trieste", "The Gay Lady" & "The Haunted Strangler."
© 2001 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 11/7/01
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