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Before Anastasia & Christian…. There was Sarah & Michael

by Tony Nash

(Artistic Erotic Drama 2)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers)

(This review is of the original Italian language version)

(Author’s Note: Because of the amount of nudity sexually charged scenes, some stills may be repeated) Eleven Days, Eleven Nights: jessica moore, mary ...


11 Giorni, 11 Notti (Eleven Days, Eleven Nights/11 Days, 11 Nights/Fantasy Becomes Reality) (1987) NC-17 ****

Jessica Moore: Sarah Asproon

Joshua McDonald: Michael Terenzi

Mary Sellars: Helen Porter

Laura Gemser: Dorothy Tipton

Tom Mojack: Dan, Construction Manager

David Brandon: Peter

Written by: Rosella Drudi (as Sarah Asproon) and Claudio Fragasso (as Clyde Anderson)

Directed by: Joe D’Amato

Synopsis: Construction executive Michael is all set to marry his sweetheart until he encounters the enticing Sarah while on a ferry. In spite of telling Sarah he’s getting married in 11 days, she convinces Michael they can be together until his wedding day. Unbeknownst to Michael, Sarah’s chosen him as the 100th man of her book, detailing 99 other experiences from manipulated affairs.

Eleven Days Eleven Nights (1987) – Least Worst Option

Aristide Massaccesi, better known by his pseudonym Joe D’Amato, the master of exploitation and erotic cinema, tried something a little different as he was nearing the end of the glory years of Italian genre filmmaking. While still using his favorite subjects of sensational sex and very basic plotlines, what D’Amato does with this particular film goes into a new direction in that the characters, while partially one dimensional, have a little depth to them and in many ways the audience can relate and sympathize with them as they feel like regular people who can be encountered in real life. The erotica is still very high in the film, but in this case isn’t done simply for the sensationalism that many of D’Amato’s (with some exceptions, including this one) and other directors films of the 70’s and 80’s tended to lean toward, there is in fact a point to every scene of sexual escapade and flirtation, showing audiences how the affair begins, and what is slowly begins to turn into in spite of the instigating party. While the plot of the film is basic, D’Amato takes his audience through a unique adventure in which his characters discover things about themselves, go through trials & tribulations, and ultimately will come full circle in the realization of what they want, and have needed all along.

Eleven Days, Eleven Nights / Eleven Days, Eleven Nights: 11 giorni ...

An interesting note to the film is the screenwriting duo who handled the script. Rosella Drudi and Claudio Fragasso were usually the script helmers of schlock maestro Bruno Mattei’s crazy films, but here they fashion a screenplay that mixes Romantic Drama with steamy erotica in just the right amount that makes for a fine adult film without the feeling that the viewer is watching thinly disguised pornography. Drudi, one of the few lady screenwriters of the fun hokey cinema genre, decided to capitalize a little on the success of Just Jaeckin’s international hit Emmanuelle by using the pseudonym Sarah Asproon for her screen credit. There really had been a woman named Emmanuelle whose memoirs became the basis for Jaeckin’s successful film, and Drudi attempted to make it look like there really was a Sarah Asproon and that she too gave her life story for the screen.

Taylor on Twitter: "Released in Italy 33 years ago today, Joe D ...

Download Eleven Days, Eleven Nights (1987) YIFY HD Torrent ...`

Jessica Moore and Joshua McDonald do fine jobs as the co-leads of the film. Moore, whose real name was Luciana Ottaviani, plays Sarah Asproon as an ambitious writer looking to do anything for success. She seems to care little for the many men she’s hurt in order to collect the necessary information and data needed to fuel her exaggerated depictions of a woman’s various affairs. This also extends to the unsuspecting Michael Terenzi, but in a very short time, it begins to look as though Sarah is having second thoughts on what she’s doing to him due to growing feelings for him, or if she realizes he’s not the type of person to do this sort of thing with, and to. This was to be Moore’s only big-time success in her brief career as a major star. Little to nothing is known of Joshua McDonald as to whether he was an American who did a couple of Italian films or if he was a native Italian using an American stage name, but what is known is his surprising subtlety fine performance as Michael Terenzi. Michael is an average, everyday type of guy who works hard and is in a loving, if slightly boring relationship. When he meets Sarah on board a ferry and has a brief, steamy tryst with her, his entire world changes over night. What at first feels like a last bout of adventure so he can be fully faithful to his fiancé soon turns into a frustrating addictive obsession Michael slowly loses control over. McDonald reveals Michael as a man stuck in a loop who has to go through a form of Baptism of Fire to find out what people and things are the most important to him.

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In a short, but necessary role in the film is the 70’s Italian sex symbol Laura Gemser. In a rare non nude performance, she plays Sarah’s friend and publisher Dorothy who encourages her to continue her affair with the unsuspecting Michael. More interested in money than her client’s personal integrity and wants, Dorothy has near constant arguments with Sarah over how the 100th man of her book should be presented. Germser was mainly known as a counterpart to Silvia Kristel in the erotic drama department, going so far as to play a character called Black Emmanuelle.

(Author’s Note: Today Gemser lives in quiet retirement in Italy)

Download Eleven Days, Eleven Nights (1987) YIFY HD Torrent ...

While not what sexploitation aficionados might expect, and what those first timers will be surprised by when seeing it, the film is still quite good. That D’Amato doesn’t linger the same amount of time on each sex scene, and that the these scenes do have a point to them make 11 Days, 11 Nights an exception within the sexploitation genre. That it tries to rise above what it looks like on paper makes it a worthwhile film to check out as it doesn’t play what goes on between the two characters as just shock value material, that something far deeper is slowly revealing itself.

(This is the 2nd time in writing that I’m going to say I can’t recommend a film. Just like with Jess Franco’s La Comtesse Noir it isn’t because the film is that bad or so poorly made it can’t be appreciated for the positive quality lying beneath it, but simply because it’s not to everyone’s taste. The sex scenes aren’t uncomfortable to look at, but there will be people who’ll suspect that D’Amato spends a little more time than he should on them. As long as the viewer takes into consideration that sex is what is driving force in the relationship between the two leads, the sex can be treated as a necessary part of the plot. The film is in no way vulgar by any means, but again because sex and some sex laden dialogue is treated fairly frank and to the point, some viewers might find this a turn off. The Blu Ray release of the film by 88 Films through their Italian Collection line is fantastic. The visual and audio transfer of the film is near pristine, with only hints of age here and there. Extras include two interviews and an audio commentary from Italian genre and exploitation cinema expert Troy Howarth.)

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Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

Linda: A Girl Who Wanted to Love, but Couldn’t

by Tony Nash

(The Artistic Erotic Drama 1)

(Spoilers Ahead)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(This review is of the French language original)

(Author’s Note: Due to the fair bit of nudity in the film, stills may sometimes be repeated)

Le journal intime d'une nymphomane Blu-ray Release Date July 31 ...

Le Journal Intime d’une Nymphomane (The Secret Diary of a Nymphomaniac/Sinner: The Diary of a Nymphomaniac) (1973) **** NC-17

Montserrat Prous: Linda Vargas (as Mona Proust)

Jacqueline Laurent: Rosa Ortiz

Anne Libert: Countess Anna de Monterey

Kali Hansa: Maria Toledano (as Gaby Herman)

Howard Vernon: The Doctor

Doris Thomas: Mrs. Schatz, the Photographer

Manuel Pereiro: Mr. Ortiz

Francisco Acosta: Alberto, the Married Playboy (as Gene Harris)

Jesus Franco: Commissaire Hernandez

Written by: Jesus Franco (as Jesus Franco Manera) & Elisabeth Ledu de Nesle

Directed by: Jesus Franco (as Clifford Brown)

Synopsis: A woman doing a lesbian act for a risqué night club meets a man she recognizes, but he doesn’t know her. She gets him drunk and while he’s passed out, phone’s the police and kills herself. When the man is wrongfully charged in her murder, his wife investigates the dead woman’s past, and soon learns a tragic story of lost innocence, humiliation, sexual awakening, and, shattered redemption.

Le Journal Intime d'une Nymphomane | Offscreen

In 1973 Jess Franco was at the end of his seclusion after the death of his Muse Soledad Miranda, and before journeying into his new chaotic, less narrative driven films, made a dark exploitation film that actually rises above its poster and stills images with an in depth story and complex, even though some are one -dimensional, characters. What begins as a murder-mystery style investigation by a wife when a seemingly typical prostitute kills herself and frames a man who turns out to be her husband, turns into an odyssey that reveals stolen innocence, a sexual rebirth, attempts at normalcy, and a failed salvation. Questions soon begin to arise if the woman was truly a lost soul or simply resisted in one way or another the help of others.  Somber in that it doesn’t treat naked women and sex scenes as the wacky and racy romps that other exploitation films of the times did, Franco doesn’t make these scenes out to be dirty or only for derelicts, but can be positive or negative based on the individual and circumstances. He also goes into the territory of even though people and experiences can help shape the victims of such moments, what those individuals do in the wake of those moments and the choices they make inevitably are of their own making.

JOURNAL INTIME D'UNE NYMPHOMANE, LE - Chronique/Critique/Review ...

Franco’s usual display of locations is not on display here as it would be in many of his other films, but he is able to get in some fantastic brief shots of old public avenues, chateau’s and beautiful public buildings. These don’t necessarily add anything t the plot at hand, but they do offer a nice change of pace to some otherwise dreary indoor scenes.

Le Journal Intime d'une Nymphomane | Offscreen

Test Blu-ray / Le Journal intime d'une nymphomane, réalisé par ...

Montserrat Prous, a little-known Spanish actress credited here under the name Mona Proust, gives a dynamic and compelling performance as Linda Vargas. Initially a wide-eyed, dreaming big teenager who comes to city to seek a better life, her world drastically changes for the worst when she’s molested while at the local fair by an older man. Her life looks to take a turn for the better when she meets a bisexual countess whom she engages in a romance with. After a spat that has Linda leaving the countess for good, she begins a torrid life of drugs and porno pics with a stripper lover. A drug raid by the police leads her into the care of a holistic doctor with bizarre methods who tries to help her, but her continuous need for physical pleasure constantly threatens her success. Prous plays Linda as a woman who just wanted to love and be loved, but her first experience being unwanted and traumatic, has her making bad choice after bad choice. In the Countess and the doctor, she is shown to have positive chances to have a good life, but either a self-destructive inner nature, or an inability to control herself always ruins those opportunities. While at times Prous shows Linda as wanting to change, she somehow always feels she’s a hopeless case doomed to a horrid existence.

Le journal intime d'une nymphomane (1973) -

Interestingly, both Franco and Prous leave the audience wondering about Linda’s sexual awakening and true sexuality. She certainly isn’t heterosexual or lesbian as she clearly doesn’t seem interested in just one gender, and while she can be easily be called bisexual with a preference for women, her openness to making love to anyone as stated in her highly explicit diary, this somehow doesn’t fit either. Linda can most likely be counted as one of the first pansexual characters in that she doesn’t really discriminate in who wants to have sex with her, as long as they are good people.

le-journal-intime-d-une-nymphomane-004 | Critique Film

Journal intime d'une nymphomane, Le - Le Chat qui Fume

The other two important characters in the story are Countess de Monterey and The Doctor, played by Anne Libert and Howard Vernon respectively. The Countess is a free loving woman of royal decent who forms a brief, but forever strong bond with Linda. The first true loves of each other’s lives, jealousy quickly tears them apart when not only the love of the same man interferes, but also Linda’s somewhat selfish nature of self-pity. Sadly, Linda’s death and abandonment leaves the Countess longing for her, even upon the realization the poor girl was on the road to self-destruction. The Doctor is a mysterious figure who may or not be what he seems, but clearly has good intentions. His attitude in regards to personal connection with the people he wants to help has questions rising about him, and whether this puritanical and asexual/platonic approach to therapeutic recovery is all what it is promoted as.

DVDFr - Journal intime d'une nymphomane : le test complet du Blu-ray

While Jacqueline Laurent’s character of Rosa is a key figure into finding out why Linda killed herself and framed Rosa’s husband, there’s really not much to her. Franco seemed to have included her as a means of other characters to relate Linda’s story to a witness who would then have to decide what to do with the knowledge they have received. Rosa’s one point of interest in that she’s an all right woman who somehow ended up in a bad marriage who ends up learning many a sad truth not only about her husband and Linda, but something about herself.

Le journal intime d'une nymphomane (1973) смотреть онлайн

The film doesn’t present exploitation sex and sensuality in any kind of fun light here, and the characters are often very broken and misleading people who may be genuine, but can change in a heartbeat. Franco’s attempt at a cautionary tale against perverts and how to redeem oneself in the wake of bad experiences is very effective and shows what Franco was capable of doing when he had the freedom to be creative and do what he wanted to do.

(This is a film I would only recommend to serious film buffs who wanted to expand their horizons, or to people who aren’t offended by nudity and can see past the exploitative nature of the work. Jess Franco was certainly a maverick in his own way, and shows here he was not afraid to tackle the darker issues of what normal exploitation features tended to glamorize and play for laughs. Montserrat Prous plays a very broken woman here, and takes that broken nature to the point of where the viewer can’t tell is she wants to be redeemed and is always foiled somehow, or if she’s simply self-destructive and wanting to engage in a self-fulling prophesy in bad things always happening to her family. While the IMDB lists the film as R rated, I personally give it an NC-17 due to the abundant nudity, the frank depiction of aimless sexual escapades, and the very sexually explicit dialogue from the Linda character. The French company Le Chat Qui Fume (The Cat Who Smokes) did a very fine job in resurrecting one of Franco’s more obscure efforts with a fine restoration and audio clean-up. The disc is region free and is English friendly in both an dub track and translated subtitles for the original French audio. While having a couple special features, Only the interview with actress Jacqueline Laurent is English subtitle friendly, but that’s OK, as she gives an abundant amount of info on the film, and her relationship with Franco.)

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Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

The Crippen Case Romanticized

by Tony Nash

(Forgotten TV Gem Part 6)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Spoilers Ahead)

Lady Killers (TV Series 1980–1981) - IMDb

Ladykillers: Miss Elmore (1981) **** TV-14

John Fraser: Dr. Hawley Harvey “Peter” Crippen

Hannah Gordon: Ethel Le Neve

Alex Johnston: Mr. A.A. Tobin

Lewis Flander: Mr. R.D. Muir

Alan Downer: Chief Inspector Dew

Lewis Shaw: Justice Lord Alverstone

Joan Simms: “Belle” Elmore (Mrs. Crippen) (voice)

Donald Eccles: Dr. A.J. Pepper

Andrew Johns: Dr. B.H. Spilsbury

Hosted by Robert Morley

Written by: Edwin Pearce

Directed by: Nicholas Ferguson

Synopsis: A dramatic retelling of the case of Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen, an American doctor living in London who was executed for the murder of his dance hall stage wife.

PD James on Dr Crippen

The Mini Series Lady Killers went through a rehaul when Granada greenlit a second set of 7 episodes. This time the series focused on famous murder trials in which women were the victims. The cases ranged from crimes of passion to jealousy to money to revenge, and usually where a man was the culprit. The first episode of the new series tackled one of the first major crimes in the first years of the 20th century, the case of American born doctor Hawley Harvey Crippen. Crippen was suspected of, and later arrested for, the murder of his wife Cora, who professionally was known as Belle Elmore, a stage actress. The case became an immediate sensation in England, and abroad, due to Crippen purportedly dismembering her body and then burying it in the cellar. Things became worse for the doctor when he attempted to flee the country with his secretary and lover Ethel Le Neve. The use of radio and telegraph by the captain of the ship Crippen boarded made history, and became a technique adopted by police as a tool in tracking suspects connected to various types of crimes. The public’s interest in the case was primarily in Crippen’s personality as he was quiet, unassuming, and even a little mousey, that people couldn’t believe so gentle looking a man could be capable of such a horrid act. Crippen’s insistence up until he was executed that he didn’t kill his wife became another sensation of the time.

Photo John Fraser

John Fraser, a fairly well noted British character actor, gives a powerful and poignant performance as Dr. Crippen. Fraser almost perfectly emulates Crippen’s quiet demeanor, completely calm, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that he killed his wife. Surprisingly, after he was arrested and brought to trial, Crippen never once denied that he had fallen out of love with his wife and had fallen in love with Ms. Le Neve, only that he regretted putting her unfairly in the spotlight via his decision to flee, and that he didn’t have the courage to divorce his wife when he had the chance. Fraser gives Crippen a kind of quiet dignity in that he cares more for Ms. Le Neve’s welfare than his own, having seemingly fatally accepted his fate. Fraser even gives audiences a deep insight into Crippen during the scenes in his cell as he awaits execution, his emotions so high from the realization of his predicament that his jailors become genuinely worried he’s nearing a mental breakdown and is suicidal. Fraser shows, via a restless dream of Crippen’s, that his wife was both a verbally and physically abusive woman, who wanted to torture her husband into staying with her.

Upstairs Downstairs' Hannah Gordon admits she can't bear fame as ...

Hannah Gordon gives an equally eloquent performance as Ethel Le Neve. Le Neve as well, was more concerned for the welfare of Crippen than her own well being, though it’s shown early on her mind and body were having trouble dealing with everything, however hard she tried to remain string for the man she loved. Gordon never gives any indication that Le Neve was aware that Crippen may have killed his wife, although she was very aware that Mrs. Crippen was a vindictive and cruel woman who constantly tortured her husband into a frenzy. That she tries to remain hopeful and tries staying strong for Crippen’s sake is intriguing.

Hawley Harvey Crippen | American murderer | Britannica

The secret life of Victorian killer Dr Crippen's mistress revealed ...

Quite a bit of the facts in the Crippen case in the episode are highly overexaggerated or nearly fabricated. Ethel Le Neve never once visited Crippen while he was in prison, nor did she make any statements declaring any permanent romantic ties to him. In reality, once Crippen was hanged, she fled England and never once spoke of Crippen or her involvement with him ever again and her death was almost completely ignored by the international press. Also unmentioned was the revelation that evidence was planted by the initial investigators in order to arrest Crippen, though by the time the episode was made, the public became forgiving, believing the men only acted in what they were certain was the stopping of a heinous criminal. Host Robert Morley’s statement that Le Neve was pregnant with Crippen’s child at the time and that the baby is full grown is a complete fabrication, Le Neve wasn’t pregnant.

July 22, 1910: Murderer Dr Crippen caught by international ...

In a bizarre sense of irony, since the episode’s filming and release, evidence was discovered in the 90’s and 2000’s that cleared Crippen of his wife’s murder. When the DNA evidence in the Scotland Yard Museum was re-examined with modern technology, it was discovered the remains weren’t those of Mrs. Crippen, leading to speculation that she did in fact abandon Crippen and disappeared and cold heartedly allowed him to be hung for her supposed death. For a period of time it couldn’t be determined if the remains had been in the Crippen home before they took up residence or if a patient of Crippen’s had died and, in a panic, he buried the body. The former seems to be the consensus as since Crippen’s reputation had already been ruined, a confession of the accidental death of a patient wouldn’t have added much to the happenings.

The History Press | The notorious case of Dr Crippen

Dr Crippen Murder: Chamber of Horror | The Unredacted

While little is accurate historically regarding the episode, it still offers a compelling look at a man who, at the time, no one could fathom how he could commit such a horrible act of murder. That he cared more for the safety of the woman he really loved and that she not be dragged through the mud made him a little sympathetic.

(Even though it mainly fictionalizes the events presented, this is still a good episode to watch as it does give interesting insight into Crippen’s mindset and what he must have been feeling as he was on trial for his life and the composure he was able to maintain in public, only to humanly break down in his cell and show the audience he was indeed afraid as anyone would be in such situations.)

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Hawley Crippen

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Peter Cottontail Has Arrived!!!!

HAPPY EASTER to everyone here on WordPress!!

Happy Easter - Village of Colonie, NY

Wishing you all well and that you’re all safe, happy, and having fun.

From Tony Nash aka Movie Fan Man

Filed under: Annoucements, Film & TV: Potpourri

Was it Murder or Suicide?

by Tony Nash

(Profiling a Forgotten TV Gem 5)

(all opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers) Ladykillers - The Complete Series 1 [DVD]: Movies & TV

Lady Killers: Miss Madeleine Smith (1980) **** TV-14

Elizabeth Richardson: Madeleine Hamilton Smith

Ian McCulloch: John Inglis

Philip Voss: Auguste de Mean

Walter Carr: Prosecutor James Moncreiff

David McKail: The Rt. Hon. John Hope

Joan Scott: Miss Altken

Eleanor McCready: Mrs. Jenkins

Elaine Wells: Miss Mary Arthur Perry

Hosted by Robert Morley

Written by: Susan Pleat

Directed by: Joan Kemp-Welch

Synopsis: In March of 1857, Glasgow heiress and spinster Madeleine Smith was arrested and placed on trial for the murder of her blackmailing lover.

Lady Killers (1980)

The Lady Killers Mini Series goes for something a little bit different this time, re-enacting a murder trial that took place in Scotland. With Scotland as part of the British Commonwealth, court trials were conducted in the same manner as the Old Bailey in London. The episode also marked one of the earliest instances that a member of the upper class was put on trial for a crime. Heiress Madeleine Smith, whose family was very prominent in Scottish and British society, caused a considerable media sensation with not only having a lover in spite of already being engaged to a prominent businessman, but also purportedly having murdered the lover when he threatened to expose their affair to her father if she didn’t end her prearranged engagement and make her relationship with him public. The case was noted for having lasted 9 days and the press’s statements the case was open and shut with not only Miss Smith’s letters to the deceased, but also the eye witness accounts of a lady friend of the dead man confirming he feared Miss Smith would try to kill him.

Elizabeth Richardson

Elizabeth Richardson, another of England’s talented stage and screen actresses, give an intriguing performance as Madeleine Smith.  Richardson plays Smith as a charming and witty beautiful lady in spite of historically being a spinster woman, albeit one with charm and enigma. While never denying she had a romantic liaison with the dead man in question, she was firm in her insistence it was merely a last effort at a romance before fully committing herself to her fiancé in marriage. She also doesn’t deny having asked for the risqué letters she wrote to the dead man, but insists her wanting them back was more for to permanently end her association with the man rather than because he threatened to publicly humiliate her or blackmail her family. Richardson adds something unique to her performance in that as Smith sits in the defense box, she gives the viewers her thoughts on the testimony via voiceover narration, sometimes stating her surprise at someone not remembering something she told them or how they should know her better than saying a complete falsehood in regard to it. Richardson’s most interesting scene is when she uses her charm to convince a local barrister to keep on as her defense counsel.

Ian McCulloch (actor) - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

Ian McCulloch, a Scottish character actor known mainly for his brief work in Italian Gore films from 1979 to 1980, has a small role as one of the many witnesses to testify in Smith’s case. While he only appears briefly, he still does very well in his part.

Historic Scottish unsolved murder mystery cracked at crime ...

Much like with the case of Ruth Ellis, host Robert Morley appears between certain points in the episode to give the audience extra facts in the Madeleine Smith’s trial. With Smith’s high society background, that she was put on trial like any common criminal was a sensation of the period, even more so that her family notedly distanced itself from her while she was in confinement. It’s never specified if Madeleine was an embarrassment to her family, or if Scotland didn’t have the same elitist attitudes its sister nation England did, as to why she was allowed to faced public trial, but the mere fact she did made the case all the more fascinating.

The Case of Madeleine Smith by Rick Geary

An interesting historical note is the conflicting evidence in regards to how the poison was administered to the dead man. Some made the claim that Smith gradually poisoned him over a period of time while others claim the dead man had an addiction to a substance that contained the same ingredients in the poison and that he sometimes took heavy doses. Even more interesting is that the people speaking of the dead man’s consistent taking of the unnamed concoction is not only their insistence of having seen him do it, but some even mention him saying he enjoyed taking the stuff without worry of consequences. A combination of this and fairly radically different forms of testimony in regards to other aspects of the case is what gave the trial its very unusual conclusion.

The case of Madeleine Smith - Dangerous Women Project

While a little clunky at times in its presentation of the facts and some of the performances, the Madeleine Smith episode is still quite interesting in the showcase it presents of a court trial that had so much differing information and motives that it was nearly impossible to decern what was to be taken seriously or be disregarded all together. While not a bungle in that the courts did everything right in its presentation of evidence and testimony, but that how reliable much of what had been presented was becomes the real question and reflection in the time century and a half since the trial. Miss Richardson gives a very convincing performance, though how accurate she is to the real-life woman may end up being a matter of individual opinion.

(A very watchable episode and not the complete clunker the reviewers on the IMDB make it out to be. It can be a little stiff, but it still has its intriguing moments and Elizabeth Richardson gives a very good performance as the title character, offering a nice mix of mystery and intrigue.)

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They May Have Hung an Innocent Woman

by Tony Nash

(Profiling a Forgotten TV Gem 4)

All opinions are of the author alone)

(Major Spoilers ahead, read at own risk)

Lady Killers (1980)

Lady Killers: Don’t Let Them Kill Me on Wednesday (1980) ***** TV-14

Rita Tushingham: Charlotte Bryant

George Baker: Sir Terence O’Connor, Q.C.

John Woodnutt: Mr. Justice McKinnon

Colin George: Christopher George Arrow

Paul Arlington: Mr. J.D. Casswell

Patricia Heneghan: Ethel Staunton

Veronica Doran: Lucy Ostler

Peter Kelly Leonard Parsons

Karen Cuff: Lily Bryant

Stephen Cuff: Ernest Bryant

Hosted by Robert Morley

Written by: Jeremy Sandford

Directed by: Valerie Hanson

Synopsis: In 1935-1936, Irish Gypsy immigrant Charlotte “Lotte” Bryant was arrested and tried for the murder of her husband Frederick by poisoning. The case later became controversial when evidence was ignored that proved the deceased died through uncontrolled arsenic addiction.

Rita Tushingham in Lady Killers (1980)

Probably the most controversial case in the history of Britain, and one that left the country with an unfair blackeye concerned another Irish woman, Charlotte Bryant. Bryant had much going against her within the trial: not only was she Irish, she also had Gypsy blood, an ethnic group with a shady history, a history of repetitive infidelity and flirtations, and was completely illiterate. The prosecution did everything in its power to show Bryant as an amoral, cold-calculating murderess who intended to run off with her live-in lover after killing her husband, in spite of having children already. It became clear however, midway through the trial, that certain things just weren’t adding up. Stories were conflicting via both Bryant’s purposed lover, who was also married, and a widow friend Bryant offered shelter to, who admitted to having clashed with the dead man over her and her own children having taken up residence. Some evidence crucial to the case was outrightly dismissed and the jury was encouraged by the Justice himself to remember Bryant’s past history, though only the last few years had any real relevance to the case at hand. Soon people were beginning to wonder if an innocent woman was about to go to the gallows.

British 60s cinema - Rita Tushingham

Rita Tushingham, a British character actress known primarily for her important role in David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago, gives a compelling and thought-provoking performance as Charlotte Bryant. Tushingham portrayed Charlotte as a simple woman who may have indeed strayed quite a bit from her husband, but was very much a devoted mother and seemed to take religion seriously. Silent for most of the trial, Charlotte appears to be bewildered by all of what’s said about her by people she thought liked her. What makes her compelling is that she never actually denies having had several affairs and even found Parsons attractive, and tries her best to be honest with all the questions presented to her. Tushingham shows Charlotte as breaking twice during the trial: when her own son and daughter are asked questions in relation to their father’s death and when she hears the damning verdict of the jury. Tushingham shows off very well the extent of Charlotte’s illiteracy in that she has to ask several times about the questions put to her by both her attorney and the prosecution, clearly having no knowledge of how poison is supposed to work.

Charlotte Bryant | Photos | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers

Not long after Bryant’s conviction, information was given to the press about the findings of a second physician who discovered the doctor consulted by the prosecution had made a huge error in the amount of poison in Frederick Bryant’s system. This information, along with more inquiries by a local Suffragette leader discovered Frederick had become addicted to a narcotic heavily laced with ingredients used in arsenic, which also accounted for his previous attacks of illness. The presiding Justice was also openly accused of influencing the jury into accepting information that had no bearing on the case. The prosecution refused to accept the 2nd opinion to their expert’s mistake. The most damaging evidence of tampering by the courts was the omittance of the name of the person Charlotte confessed was the catalyst in her husband’s death. This led many to believe that Charlotte only looked the other way when her husband was killed, and not directly responsible for it. Opinions have varied as to whether Charlotte was a scapegoat in the government’s increasing action against the rising IRA terror group or if England’s strong elitist influences saw her as nothing more than a discardable guttersnipe.

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Host Robert Morley, in a rare end of episode appearance, appeared to get choked up when discussing Charlotte Bryant’s final days before her execution. Whether he felt her conviction shameful and his country’s failure to uphold the law a disgrace is left up to viewer opinion in interpretation of how he speaks and his body language, but it is clear that many lost some faith in the courts after the new information became public knowledge.

The Hidden History Blog : The Life and Death of Charlotte Bryant

A case in which the conviction may have been a mistake or a deliberate act of a miscarriage of justice that will never truly be known makes for compelling drama and intriguing mystery. A rare case of where the viewer must draw his or her own conclusions.

(I found this episode very emotionally engaging, and is certainly a must watch for the series. As the episode got closer to the conclusion, I began to realize just how much was really against Charlotte Bryant, and how her unsavory past really played against her. I do believe she had knowledge her husband was killed, but wasn’t a directly involved player in the crime, and that her background as a poor Irish Catholic really had a lot to do with the court’s perception of her. The exceptional acting by everyone involved in the episode, especially star Rita Tushingham, evokes this highly and beautifully.)

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