The Spell of Amy Nugent (AKA “Spellbound” and “Passing Clouds”)
Directed by John Harlow
Written by Miles Malleson and Hugh Benson based on the play “Necromancer” by Robert Benson
Pyramid Amalgamated Pictures
First viewing/Amazon Instant Video
According to the British Film Noir Guide, this is one. It’s more of a ghost story and a pretty bad one to boot.
Mrs. Baxter is a pillar of society. She is trying to arrange a marriage between her son Laurie and family friend Diana Hilton. Laurie, however, is in love with Amy Nugent, daughter of the local shopkeeper. The difference in class horrifies his mother but Laurie is determined to go through with the wedding. Before this can happen, Amy dies of a sudden illness.
Laurie, an Oxford scholar preparing for his exams and a leading track star, is devastated. He is ripe when one of his mother’s friends leaves behind a book on spiritualism. He visits the friend’s house where he meets a medium named Mr. Vincent. The medium does conjure up Amy. Laurie’s Oxford tutor is a skeptic but Laurie will not listen, Finally, he brings in Mr. Cathcart, a believer who fled the movement. Laurie sinks deeper under the spell of Mr. Vincent. Can Cathcart or Diana break it before Laurie goes insane?
At first, I thought this movie was going somewhere interesting with Amy’s demise. Not so. In addition, at only 82 minutes, the film drags. I thought Derek Farr over did it as Laurie. I suppose some of the lighting is noirish but low-key lighting is suitable for horror as well and does not turn a ghost story into a film noir, in my book.