Montgomery, skilfully suggesting a sickly veneer that belies his matinée idol charm, is surprisingly effective as the psychopathic pageboy with a hat-box in which he treasures the grisly trophies of his penchant for decapitation. The trouble with Emlyn Williams' stage play is that, having established Danny's character and the basic situation - Danny closeted with the rich old lady he wants as his next victim (Whitty, wonderfully skittish and foolish), and the frustrated young companion who wants him (Russell, miscast) - it resorts to pure melodramatic contrivance. The creakiness is exacerbated in this barely opened-out adaptation, with a series of stagy exits and entrances conveniently helping the plot along, but frittering away what tension there is as the consummation of Danny's desire is forever delayed while the police bumble absurdly and Russell agonises as she realises the truth.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||John Van Druten|
Dame May Whitty