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The Stranger Came Home
The Unholy Four

UK 1954
produced by
Michael Carreras for Hammer, Lippert Pictures
directed by Terence Fisher
starring Paulette Goddard, William Sylvester, Patrick Holt, Paul Carpenter, Alvys Maben, Russell Napier, Kay Callard, David King-Wood, Jeremy Hawk, Patricia Owens, Jack Taylor (II), Kim Mills, Owen Evans, Philip Lennard
screenplay by Michael Carreras, based on the novel The Stranger at Home by George Sanders (II), music by Leonard Salzedo

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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After four years of absence during which he was presumed dead, Vickers (William Sylvester) returns home to his wife Angie (Paulette Goddard) and his friends Job (Patrick Holt), Bill (Paul Carpenter) and Harry, all of whom were at one time in love with his wife, and all of whom he suspects of having tried to murder him 4 years ago, when he was hit over his head and has suffered from amnesia for the longest time in the process. Harry doesn't survive the night of Vickers' return, and of course, he is one of the chief suspects for inspector Treherne (Russell Napier) in the process - but so are Job and Bill, even Angie and her assistant Joan (Alvys Maben).

It now seems that Vickers goes bonkers, he locks his wife in, fires Joan and even cuts off all the phone lines - something that even scares Angie, but actually it's just bait: He knows whoever has tried to kill him four years ago cares a lot about Angie, and will now come to her rescue. Job does indeed show up soon, but only because he has killed someone else, a blackmailer (David King-Wood), by mistake and now offers Angie to take the rap for the murder of Harry as well, who he has witnessed her with shortly before his death. Thing is, he is neither good at taking the rap, he also hasn't seen her but Joan, who has not actually killed Harry as it is. Bill later shows up as well, but won't confess anything, and then Vickers' bluff about locking in his wife is called, too.

There is one thing left for Vickers to do: Invite Bill, whom he believes to be the baddie of the piece, over for dinner - during which Bill actually drugs Vickers and Angie, kills Joan (who has forged evidence against Vickers) and makes it look like Vickers did it. Vickers is almost arrested for the crime, too, but makes a daring escape, going after Bill to try and force a confession out of him. It doesn't work, but then inspector Treherne arrives on the scene to, to arrest Bill, who has overlooked just one detail in his murder of Joan: He has killed her a full hour before he left Vickers and Angie, so the way he arranged Vickers and the corpse simply made no sense, should Vickers have killed her ...

 

Nice crime thriller, not entirely free of plotholes, but thanks to fluent storytelling and a solid direction by Terence Fisher, this doesn't matter all that much. Sure, the film is miles from being a classic, but good entertainment nevertheless.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD