So Evil My Love
So for Valentine’s how about a movie list featuring films where the loved one may or may not be evil, or loving them might lead to disaster.
Last year I saw an old English movie called So Evil My Love. It’s seems to be not too highly regarded. I’m not sure why I thought it was quite good. And the title is great. It stars Ray Milland. I was thinking about it and remembered another of his films Footsteps in the Fog – except that isn’t Ray Milland it’s Stewart Granger – and I watched it again, hadn’t seen it for years. I love that movie. For some reason I love watching these sorts of movies when the weather is dismal and I can feel a cold or flu coming on.
Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) (1930)
An uptight but respectable English teacher loses his head, heart and pretty much everything when he falls for a nightclub singer.
Watch the German version if you can – Marlene Dietrich’s singing voice is much better in German. Really it is.
I have to admit this isn’t a comfortable watch – but it is very good.
Night Must Fall (1937)
Robert Montgomery plays Danny, a roguish Irish charmer who inveigles his way into the household of a cantankerous well-off elderly woman in a sleepy English country village. Her niece and paid companion, played by Rosalind Russel, is wary of Danny. Is it because he’s mixed up in the disappearance of a woman from the village or is it because she is scared of her feelings for him?
The “psychology” in it is a bit hysterical at times and the ending could be a lot better but still there is something oddly likeable about this one. And Robert Montgomery’s Irish accent is surprisingly good. Sounds a little Welsh sometimes, but it’s good.
A shy young heiress falls for a charming spendthrift gentleman. They quickly marry and only then do they discover that she does not have the sort of wealth he expected and he does not have the morals that she would have expected.
He doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with taking other people’s money and lying about where he got it from. He is so charming that she can easily forgive this, but is he capable of much worse?
This is one of my favourite Cary Grant movies.
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Like the last one this is also a Hitchcock thriller. Here the suspicious loved one isn’t a love interest but rather an uncle.
A teenage girl is having a rather dull time. Uncle Charlie pays the family a visit. He leads a more exciting life and is like a breath of fresh air. But it’s been a while since they’ve seen him and to his niece he seems a little different. Is she just bored and making mountains out of molehills or are her suspicions justified?
Double Indemnity (1944)
Classic film noir. Fred MacMurray plays an insurance salesman who wanders into the house of a dissatisfied wife, played by Barbara Stanwyck, married to a wealthy man who is careful with his money. A little too careful for the wife’s liking.
MacMurray’s salesman knows all the angles needed to pull off an insurance fraud. Stanwyck’s character knows all the stories to tell to convince him that her husband deserves to meet his maker. It could be the perfect crime. The only problem is MacMurray’s boss and good friend, played by Edward G. Robinson, who can spot a con a mile off.
A famous singer is murdered. Her young niece, who lived with her, is taken abroad. Years later the niece, grown-up (and played by Ingrid Bergman), falls in love and her new husband (played by Charles Boyer) wants them to move back to her aunt’s house in London, which she now owns. It is a beautiful house in a good location and she doesn’t have any sensible objection to moving back so she agrees. Once there her husband’s manner changes and she ends up a virtual prisoner in her own house. What is the reason for her husband’s cruel behaviour?
The Suspect (1944)
At the start of 20th century Philip Marshall, played by Charles Laughton, is a mild mannered man trapped in a dull job and a loveless marriage to a cold, nagging wife. One evening he meets a young woman who is unemployed and in need of help. He buys her dinner. They begin a platonic relationship. She brightens and lightens his dull life. His wife finds out and demands that Philip give up his new friend. In a flash of temper he strikes out at his wife and kills her. However people accept his explanation that it was accident, in time he marries his new young friend, everything seems to be going well. But then it’s never that easy…
Scarlet Street (1945)
Christopher Cross is a middle-aged man of modest means. He is liked and trusted by his employer. His wife is selfish and nagging. He paints as a hobby and has a very unique style.
One night he saves a woman from being mugged. Or at least he thinks he does. The woman and her boyfriend end up mugging him…
A serial killer is stalking the personal ads of a London paper and then uses cryptic poems to inform the police of his next victim.
The police are narrowing in on their suspect. They get an American dancer, and friend of one of the killer’s vicitms, to respond to an ad and place her in the way of possible suspects. Problem is one of them is very charming and she starts to fall for him.
Brighton Rock (1947)
This is more of a crime thriller but fits into the so-evil-my-love list because of the ending.
Pinkie, played by Richard Attenborough, is the boss of a small-time local criminal gang. He orders the murder of a rival and the police think its suicide. The only one who can prove the man was murdered is a naive young woman who Pinkie marries to keep quiet. However, a friend of the deceased wont accept that its suicide and Pinkie’s gang aren’t as under his control as he’d like. Things escalate.
Nightmare Alley (1947)
Tyrone Power plays Stan Carlisle who works with a mentalist act, Zeena and Pete, in a circus.
Once the couple were big and had their own show. They have a special code for convincing audiences that they can read minds. They gave up the act for a simpler circus show when Pete’s drinking became a problem. Pete ends up – actually I’m not going summarize this one. I came across this last year. I’d never heard of it and I think it’s great. Sometimes things are better the less you know about them before watching. Take a look, see what you think.
So Evil My Love (1948)
Set in Victorian London, Ann Todd plays Olivia Harwood, the widow of missionary who died on their way back from Jamaica. On that journey she also meets Mark Bellis a con-artist, thief and painter. He needs new lodgings that the authorities are not aware of and decides to take rooms with the respectable widow. Olivia who has led a rather repressed life ends up falling for the rogue and he manages to coax her into a life of blackmail and crime.
The Hidden Room (aka Obsession) (1949)
A husband decides to make his wife’s lover pay for their affair. Not with money. His plan is as meticulous as it is deadly. All anyone knows is that the wife’s lover has disappeared.
Time is running out and the only thing that will save the wife’s lover is a missing dog and an inspector from Scotland Yard who doesn’t seem like he’s aware of much…
5 Fingers (1952)
This is great. And another film I only discovered last year online.
James Mason plays the ambitious valet of the UK ambassador for Turkey during WWII. He has dreams that require money – much more than a valet’s wages allow. But he has access to top secret documents and there is war going on.
A story about a very likeable spy – for the Nazis. And it’s based on a true story. Don’t pre-judge, just watch.
Les diaboliques (1955)
The wife and mistress of a sadistic boarding school headmaster plot to kill him. They drown him in the bathtub and dump the body in the school’s filthy swimming pool… but when the pool is drained, the body has disappeared – and subsequent reported sightings of the headmaster slowly drive the women mad. (Summary copied from imdb – pretty much)
Footsteps in the Fog (1955)
I love this film. I don’t even know why really. And I defy anyone to watch this and not want to buy an ornate walking stick.
Stewart Granger plays the grieving widower. His late, older, wealthier wife endured a long illness before succumbing finally to a peaceful death. Or did she? Jean Simmons plays the servant girl who discovers things are not as innocent as they seem. And she uses this knowledge to get the sort of life she’s always desired.
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
Another classic. Billy Wilder adapts an Agatha Christie play. It stars Charles Laughton, Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power.
Leonard Vole, Tyrone Power, is arrested on suspicion of murdering an older woman who is financing some business venture of his. He employs an experienced barrister recently weakened by a heart attack, Charles Laughton, as his defense attorney. Marlene Dietrich plays his wife who is a little hard to decipher and is to be a witness, not for the defense, but for the prosecution.
The Naked Edge (1961)
This is Gary Cooper’s last film. And it’s great. There was a robbery at a business where he worked. That night he was working late and so were two other employees. One of his colleagues is killed during the robbery and he identifies the other employee as the thief. The thief, played by Ray McAnally, vehemently protests his innocence. The money stolen is never recovered. George Radcliffe, the Gary Cooper character, leaves that company shortly after, to start his own venture, having made a killing in the stock market. His wife, played by Deborah Kerr, is suspicious but lets go of these thoughts until 5 years later when a blackmail letter sent to her husband about the robbery resurfaces. Is she married to a murderer? Is she herself in danger?
Le 7ème Juré (The 7th Juror) (1962)
Here’s it’s the love of maintaining the status quo that is so evil.
About 15 – 20 years ago they used to show this all the time on TV5. Looking for it online recently I had a tough time finding it. It’s a pity, it’s a great movie.
I don’t know how accurately the portrayal of the French legal system is in the film – but it’s obvious that it’s very different to the common law system we have here (and which most English speaking countries, or former English colonies, would have).
Here the boyfriend is suspected of the murder of a young woman and the actual murderer is one of the jurors. But rather than compound the guilt of his crime by ensuring the boyfriend is found guilty the juror is determined that the young man be acquitted. I won’t say anymore because the way this unfolds is great.
If you can find it it’s well worth the watch.
Wait Until Dark (1967)
This doesn’t really fit into the theme exactly but I love this and when I’m in the mood for so-evil-my-love films this one also always springs to mind. I’m just going to copy the description from imdb – A recently blinded woman is terrorized by a trio of thugs while they search for a heroin stuffed doll they believe is in her apartment.