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Information

Year
1971
Runtime
111 min.
Director
Richard Fleischer
Genres
Crime, Drama, Biography
Rating *
7.6
Votes *
4,286
Checks
624
Favs
53
Dislikes
4
Favs/checks
8.5% (1:12)
Favs/dislikes
13:1
* View IMDb information

Top comments

  1. dombrewer's avatar

    dombrewer

    This exceptional, disturbing film details the appalling crimes of the seemingly mild mannered and softly spoken John Christie, an infamous British serial killer from the 1940s and '50s who preyed upon vulnerable women, including prostitutes and those seeking illegal abortions, by raping and strangling them and then concealing their bodies in his ground floor flat and communal garden; spoiler

    It would be hard to overstate how well director Richard Fleischer and screenwriter Clive Exton (after Ludovic Kennedy's book) bring this story to the screen. The events are grotesque and upsetting but at no point does the film stray into melodrama or sensationalism - in fact the calmness and mundanity of the telling reflect the personality of their protagonist perfectly. This is in no small part thanks to the work of Richard Attenborough, surely giving his best screen performance - he barely raises his voice for the duration and maintains a chillingly plausible calm and terrible intelligence, the mask only slipping when committing his violent crimes. He is supported by another typically magnificent performance by John Hurt as Evans - a boastful but simple minded and illiterate Welshman, spoiler The film is rounded out by strong, naturalistic performances by Judy Geeson and Pat Heywood as Beryl Evans and Ethel Christie, as well as Robert Hardy and Geoffrey Chater as the defence and prosecution lawyers in Evans' trial.

    The art direction and cinematography are also brilliant: the grainy 70s film stock perfectly fits the mood, with accurate attention to period detail (the film was partially shot in the real Rillington Place before it was demolished), the dirty greys, browns and greens of the squalid flat adding considerably to the sense of unease that pervades the whole film. Most impressively we don't see very much of the murders taking place, usually just the moments leading up to and after with a casual, dispassionate eye and the film is all the more horrifying because of it. spoiler

    Powerful, subtle and genuinely chilling - one of the great, under-rated British films and easily one of the best films I've seen this year. Highly recommended for anyone interested in true crime and the subtler, grubby corners of thriller and horror cinema.
    7 years ago
  2. MilenaFlaherty's avatar

    MilenaFlaherty

    Chilling performance by Attenborough, compelling film. 5 years 2 months ago
  3. flaiky's avatar

    flaiky

    This is a brilliant film. Utterly brilliant. 7 years ago
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In 2 official lists

  1. This movie ranks #890 in Doubling the Canon
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    Doubling the Canon

    890
  2. This movie ranks #909 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
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    Time Out's 1000 Films to…

    909
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