The Woman in Question

The Woman in Question (AKA “Five Angles on Murder”)woman in question poster
Directed by Anthony Asquith
Written by John Cresswell
1950/UK
J. Arthur Rank Organization/Javelin Films/Vic Film Productions
First viewing/Hulu

 

In England when you make a movie, even the weather is against you. In Hollywood the weatherman gets a shooting schedule from all the major studios and then figures out where he can fit in a little rain without upsetting Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer too much. — Anthony Asquith

Here is another take on the Rashomon theme for 1950 with five versions of the character of a murder victim.  Not an entirely successful treatment, but interesting.

A small boy discovers the strangled body of his mother’s lodger Agnes AKA “Madame Astra” (Jean Kent) in her London flat.  Scotland Yard has very little to go on and begins by inquiring into the life and associates of the victim.  They begin with landlady Mrs. Finch (Hermoine Baddely) who tells the story of a “real lady” who, like her, is worrying about a chronically ill husband and is beset her horrible sister and an awful American caller.

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We then get the story as told by the sister and the American (Dirk Bogarde)d, both of which portray a malicious harridan.  Then we hear from a couple of very different admirers, middle-aged pet shop owner Mr. Pollard who did odd-jobs for her and Irish seaman Michael Murray who hoped to marry her.  Just about all of these people had reason to hate the woman and the different interviews also reveal clues to the murder mystery.

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This is actually more of a gimmick for telling a murder mystery story rather than anything more profound.  That being the case, one would hope that the mystery itself would be more intriguing.  I guessed the identity of the culprit fairly early on and didn’t care much who did it actually. Your mileage may vary.  Dirk Bogarde certainly could do a convincing American accent.

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