Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated Detective/Mysteries - Silver Scenes ""

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Underrated Detective/Mysteries - Silver Scenes

Our names our Diana & Constance Metzinger and we have been running "Silver Scenes" since April 2013. We love promoting lesser-known classics and obscure films and always enjoy sharing thoughts on classic film with people of all ages. When we're not writing for the blog we spend our time watching films and selling movie collectibles on our eBay store, Silverbanks Pictures.  

The Bat (1959) 
The Bat may have fallen into the category of a forgotten B horror flick if not for the talents of Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead, who really lend this obscure film a touch of class. The Bat, based on Mary Roberts Rinehart's play of the same name, has a pretty simple plot and keeps the characters all confined to a country house during a fierce thunderstorm one night. This version of the story however, spans the events over a period of several days and the screenwriters decided to dip their fingers into the story and really confuse things. Nevertheless its a winner in our eyes and the perfect mystery to watch on a Friday night. - Diana & Connie

Ladies in Retirement (1941) 
Ida Lupino is the real star of the show in this addictive mystery which takes place in the claustrophobic confines of a secluded house on the moors of England. Lupino plays Ellen Creed, the housekeeper to a retired stage actress who is upset that Creed asked her two slighty deranged sisters to visit with her and then promised them that they would remain for good. How Creed handles the situation makes for an eerie and very entertaining drama. I love it because of its old English atmosphere, the great Tudor house setting, and its gentle pace. - Diana 

Murder is Easy (1982) 
Murder Is Easy is one of those quaint TV movies that you would catch midway through on an obscure channel in the middle of the night and then remember twenty years later. We like it because of its English countryside setting, its stellar cast ( Olivia DeHavilland, Helen Hayes, Bill Bixby, Jonathon Pryce ), its amusing dialogue and for the lovely Leslie Anne Down. Also, it being an Agatha Christie story, it has a great twist at the end! - Connie & Diana 

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956) 
Fritz Lang rarely made a bum film. This one is one of his best even though it is relatively unknown. Dana Andrews is great as the frustrated novelist who wants to prove the injustice/sin of capital punishment by becoming an innocent culprit of a crime. Just when you think you can guess the "twist" Lang throws in one ringer after another and you end up being stumped to the very end. Highly engrossing. - Diana 

The Chalk Garden (1964) 
This probably doesn't fall under the category of "mystery" for most viewers but when you look at it on the whole, a mystery is exactly what The Chalk Garden is. Deborah Kerr plays a governess who comes to the lives of a young girl ( Hayley Mills ), her grandmother ( Edith Evans ), and their butler ( John Mills ) who are living in a secluded country house by the white cliffs of Dover. Her secret past ignites the detective in each of the characters - especially Hayley Mills - as they try to pry into her life and discover just who she was before she came to them. Every summer I watch this film several times over and no matter how times I have seen it since my first viewing it has not lost its original air of mystery. It's colorful, exciting, rich with drama, and cleverly written...and it is a downright shame that the film is not well recognized. Keep your ears open for Malcolm Arnold's beautiful score as well. Perfect viewing with a cup of tea and scones. - Connie

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