• A superb little thriller that Hitchcock would be proud of
  • It serves now as the first archiveable film director Lewis Gilbert (though not his debut) and second archiveable film for star Dirk Bogarde. Gilbert would direct Alfie in 1966, You Only Live Twice in 1967 and one of the best James Bond films of all- The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977. Still- I’m not sure this isn’t his best work
  • The nod to Hitchcock isn’t just because of the genre- visually Gilbert evokes the great master by putting the alcohol glasses jarringly in front of the frame just like Hitch did with the poisonous tea cup in Notorious. Bogarde’s Edward Bare is using drink as a weapon against his wife. He’s a bluebeard—certainly the genre is different (Chaplin chose black comedy) but it is hard to watch Cast a Dark Shadow and not think of 1947’s Monsieur Verdoux. Bogarde is up to the difficult role. He is a sly one- planting seeds in his maid’s mind and then telling her to “toddle”
  • a tight 82-minutes running time

at the 15-minute mark there is a sublime shot—again Hitch or Wyler, Welles, (or De Palma, Robert Wise) would be proud—the actress Mona Washbourne has her face front left of the frame in close-up. The bottle is middle/middle and Dirk is sneaking in the window in the background right.

Another standout shot at the 70-minute mark with Dirk front left this time—and Kay Walsh background right. Deep focus

  • During a big fight at the 74-minute mark Gilbert’s camera glides left and shoots Walsh and Bogarde through these obstructions
  • In the final shot, Gilbert’s camera tracks backward to reveal an empty rocking chair (the dead woman’s) and continues to track out the door revealing the curtains blowing in the wind- very nice
  • Recommend/ Highly Recommend border