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John Meadows (Tod Slaughter) is a benevolent Squire who takes interest
in all affairs of his community, even the local prison, which he, also a
justice of peace, visits almost daily. But of course, all his benevolence
and respectability is only a facade, because behind locked doors, he
relishes in torturing prisoners and plotting against pretty much everyone
in his vicinity.
Presently, Meadows lusts after Susan Merton (Marjorie
Taylor) - so he makes her father (D.J.Williams) dependent from him by
buying up all of his bonds and claiming he did it out of friendship. There
is one slight problem though: Susan is engaged to George (Ian Colin) ...
so the Squire makes up some false evidence accusing George of poaching -
but George's best friend Tom (Jack Livesey) takes the rap for the crime
neither of them has committed ... and lands in Meadows' prison.
though, a penniless but idealistic young man, decides to leave for
Australia for two years to find his fortune, giving Meadows plenty of
opportunity to scheme against him - and scheming Meadows does, especially
after he learns that George has found gold in Australia ... upon which he
gets the rumour into circulation that George has also found a wife there.
Heartbroken, Susan finally agrees to marry Meadows, and the wedding
preparations are well under way when George returns from Australia. In
desperation, Meadows drugs George and steals his fortune - but then in a
moment of weakness leaves it to his crooked accomplice Crawley (Laurence
Hanray), so when George shows up at Susan's doorstep on her wedding day to
prove he is worthy of her, he only embarrasses himself and proves himself
to be just the penniless guy he was two years ago ... until Tom, who in
prison has grown wise to the Squire's schemings, shows up with Crawley and
proves Meadows to be the crook he always has beeen secretly ... and the
ending sees Meadows suffering in his own prison.
Not a great
film, but an ok period melodrama, with a clichéd plot maybe and many a
plothole, but also with Tod Slaughter relishing in another bad-guy role -
and while he might not have been the best and most versatile actor there
was, he's always fun to watch hamming it up as a scheming villain of one
sort or another.