Film Directors with their Trousers Off #1
Orson Welles in THREE CASES OF MURDER.
Lord Mountdrago has a nightmare, one many would recognise. Welles is really good in his segment of this anthology film, as a Tory MP persecuted by a rival (Alan Badel, very Welsh) in his dreams. Orson even steps outside his usual comfort zone of dramatic pauses and voice-going-up-at-the-end, as when he resolves to murder his enemy in dreamland, certain that this will eradicate him in life also. Mountdrago’s psychiatrist (the reliable André Morell) asks what will happen if, nevertheless, next time Lord M is in the House, his opponent is still sitting opposite. “He won’t be,” whispers Welles, in a strange, demented, coquettish manner, sly and full of interior bubbles, rather like Audrey Hepburn’s last line in this scene from her screen test.
George More O’Ferrall (THE HEART OF THE MATTER) directed this episode, the last in the film, in an efficient manner, occasionally showing touches of the required imagination.
David Eady’s middle section is interesting only for showing up the inadequacy of John Gregson in any role that requires a bit of neurosis or passion (Gregson seems kind of like a better-looking Kenneth More, the blokey bulking agent of 50s British doldrums-era film). But the first episode, directed by the fascinating Wendy Toye, is worth a whole piece in itself, which I shall now go write.