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6.3
Three

Three (2002)

Horror, Mystery, Foreign

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Three Cases Of Murder

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Three Cases of Murder is a British horror film first released in 1955, directed by David Eady, George More O’Ferrall and Wendy Toye. The film is based on a story by Brett Halliday, W. Somerset Maugham and Roderick Wilkinson and stars Orson Welles, John Gregson and Elizabeth Sellars. Our overall rating for this film is: good. 
A darkened room, a stranger enters, scarf over his face, and fires off a few shots - but it's all right, it's only popular television host Eamonn Andrews, demonstrating the quick, no-nonsense manner in which he'd like to commit his murders. But to business, and the three short tales which will be presented for our delectation, all of them concerning murder and one of them a whodunnit. The other two will have a more supernatural flavour, but each one promises to captivate, beginning with a yarn about a painting hanging in this art gallery...
It ends with the Scariest Last Line Of A Horror Film Ever™:
"Then… I haven't escaped him…"
March 16, 1955
Screen: Murder Packet; Homicide Featured in Plaza's 'Three Cases'
By BOSLEY CROWTHER
INSPIRED, no doubt, by such pictures as "Trio" and "Quartet," those eminently successful screen compendiums of Somerset Maugham tales, a group of people in England has put together another collection of yarns, frankly titled "Three Cases of Murder," which opened at the Plaza yesterday.
Only one of these tales is by Maugham. The others are by Roderick Wilkinson and Brett Halliday, and all three have to do with the destruction of human beings in one or another way. They are interesting in their virtuosity and cozily British in style. The only fault with them is the monotony of their terminal incidents.
The last is the best, for our money. That is the one by Maugham—a little something called "Lord Mountdrago," in which conscience kills a man. The man is a British Foreign Minister, played by Orson Welles, who suffers under a fearful obsession of the ruin he has caused an opponent. And the whole thing is a demonstration of this cold and pompous statesman going mad under the imagined taunts of his victim, which is something Mr. Welles does handsomely.
Alan Badel plays the opponent—a fiery member of Parliament—and André Morell is briefly impressive as a psychiatrist who tries to help the guilt-racked man. George More O'Ferrall's direction is cased in a mighty dignity, which makes the cracking of the political pillar appear all the more weird and incredible.
The first of the lot, called "In the Picture," from a fable by Mr. Wilkinson, is a mild exercise in the fantastic which, frankly, we did not dig. It has to do with an artist stepping out of a macabre painting (in which his spirit lives) and drawing into it those innocent admirers who might improve it in some way. The idea is fascinating, but it doesn't particularly jell, and the obvious attempt to make it funny doesn't quite come off.
Mr. Badel again is in this one—as the spirit of the painter, a callous fop—and Leueen MacGrath is a boozy female who inhabits the painting with him. Wendy Toye's direction is a bit on the freakish side, especially when they get inside that painting. Hugh Pryse is the innocent they imbroil in oil.
The second episode, "You Killed Elizabeth," is a straight whodunit—crisp and clear, without any whimsey-whamsey about spirits or mental complexes. Two friends and partners in London fall in love with the same girl. One takes her away from the other, and then the girl is killed. Emrys Jones and John Gregson are the fellows; Elizabeth Sellars is the girl. It makes a neat yarn, under David Eady's direction. Mr. Badel is in this one, too, as a sympathetic and perceptive bartender.
The whole show is a pleasant one—for murder fans.
THREE CASES OF MURDER, a three-part drama with screen play by Ian Dalrymple, Donald Wilson and Sidney Carroll; directed by Wendy Toye, David Eady and George More O'Ferrall; produced by Mr. Dalrymple with Hugh Perceval. An Associated Artists Productions release. At the Plaza.
IN THE PICTURE
Mr. X . . . . . Alan Badel
Jarvis . . . . . Hugh Pryse
Mr. Rooke . . . . . John Salew
The Woman in the House . . . . . Leueen MacGrath
Snyder . . . . . Eddie Byrne
The Girl . . . . . Ann Hanslip
YOU KILLED ELIZABETH
George Wheeler . . . . . Emrys Jones
Edgar Curtain . . . . . John Gregson
Elizabeth Grange . . . . . Elizabeth Sellars
Harry . . . . . Alan Badel
Inspector Acheson . . . . . Jack Lambert
LORD MOUNTDRAGO
Lord Mountdrago . . . . . Orson Welles
Owen . . . . . Alan Badel
Lady Mountdrago . . . . . Helen Cherry
Dr. Audlin . . . . . Andre Morell
Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs . . . . . Peter Burton
Leader of the House . . . . . Arthur Wontner
Private Secretary . . . . . John Humphrey
Sir James . . . . . David Horne
Three Cases Of Murder is more "one case of murder and two cases of shit-you-up psychological horror, with quite a lot of comedy thrown in", but don't let the misleading title… erm… mislead you. It really is one of the Scariest British Horror Films Of All Time, and is worth watching for Welles' performance alone. He's wonderful as the pompous Mountdrago, but it's in the dream sequences where he excels. The character really appears to be enjoying himself, whether leading a rousing chorus of "Daisy, Daisy" or "having it large" in a club, but his eyes are saying "what the hell is happening?". It's a tour de force performance of a man who's lost control of his
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