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Plot:

A small, sedate British village is shocked when its residents begin receiving hate-filled diatribes, known as “poison pen letters”.::[email protected]

Also Known As: Gift-Pennen, Poison Pen, Cartas que Matam

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6 Comments

  • guesgues
    guesgues

    Thank you very much

  • malin-ruud
    malin ruud

    Slight but likeable, cusp of the War, b&w ‘B’ movie made in Elstree, almost entirely in the studio but creating a believable enough feel of that archetypal English village of the period. The warm glow of the recognisable and friendly shopkeeper, priest and neighbours. But also the claustrophobia and the restrictions as the values and values of the many that can restrict the behaviour of the few. Here all is exasperated by the vindictive actions of the writer of poison pen letters. I have no idea whether Clouzot saw this before he made his classic Le Corbeau during the ensuing War but whilst this does not have quite the same sinister undertones of the French film this is still powerful enough with what one reviewer describes as ‘several disturbing incidents’. The direction and acting are solid with plenty of recognisable old favourites but Flora Robson is particularly effective and if I have never understood the appeal of Robert Newton, he is prominently billed and certainly had his fans. It is interesting to see Ann Todd holding her own amidst distinguished company and about to become a star herself. A pleasant enough and very English watch.

  • antal-e-marianna
    antal e marianna

    A film such as “Poison Pen” would never have been made for much money, considering the running time, the plot and the fact it’s a British film. The final results though are interesting. The peace and civility of an English village is shattered by a spate of poison pen letters which are in circulation. There soon begins a wave of bigotry, ignorance, prejudice attitudes and paranoia, amongst the residents. Those on the receiving end, are portrayed as vulnerable and frightened. The malicious gossip mongers are out in force, as they hail accusations at one or two of the locals. Soon, the situation reaches crisis point and all hell is let loose… This film doesn’t pull its punches, storywise. We bear witness to scenes where so-called human beings are acting as judge and jury. Flora Robson gives an effective performance but she goes a bit far toward the end. The DVD sleeve of this movie shows Robert Newton billed second in the cast. This is not the case as he is very much a supporting character. He is actually placed about seventh amongst the actors. Regardless, Newton does well with the limited screen time he has. The pace rattles along effectively enough and there are one or two quite disturbing moments. Worth watching.

  • sig-ra-morgana-rizzo
    sig ra morgana rizzo

    A gripping melodrama with an excellent cast. Though I began to have an inkling of the denouement toward the end, it was still an exciting film. Great performances by all. Happy to see Flora Robson in another great film and Robert Newton and Ann Todd are always wonderful to see.The story has pathos, romance, and melodrama. At the end of the film we are truly affected by the story of malice and its outcome as the Vicar attempts to calm the congregation and restore peace within the community. As a big fan of British films of the 30’s through the 50’s, it was really fun to see all the familiar names at the beginning. The supporting actors and actresses are icing on the cake!

  • jorgen-kristiansen
    jorgen kristiansen

    More stars just for the star quality of the cast.Enjoyable ‘who-dunnit-‘ featuring some very well known faces from UK’s stage and screen. Even a young Roddy McDowall sneaks into shot, as an un-credited choirboy! Other minor roles include Kenneth Conner connecting with the audience as a local telephone receptionist.Even the delightful comedienne Esma Cannon has a small part (Mrs. Cannon). Don’t know the name? Google it, you’ll know exactly who I mean.In fact, anyone who had any kind of contact with this movie went on to have successful acting careers.By today’s story-telling standards, the outcome does seem a bit obvious but that minor flaw is over-ruled by the magnificent performance of the guilty party.Some fun moments include when the whole nosy crowd of villages gatecrash the post office and gather round to listen in on a phone call all the way from… Australia!There is also some sharp dialog shared between the dancers at the charity shindig in aid of church restoration.A must for film buffs but probably not so much for casual film watchers.

  • chelsea-carrillo
    chelsea carrillo

    Flora Robson gave everything she had, especially in the last ten minutes, for what was essentially a British “quota quickie”. But even though it was a B production it had everything going for it from a novel by Richard Llewellyn (soon to hit pay dirt with his “How Green Was My Valley”), sustained tension and pace and a magnificent cast including the incomparable Robert Newton.A little English village’s peace is shattered when a series of anonymous letters start being delivered to various homes concerning terrible allegations about the recipients and their nearest and dearest. Respectable townspeople find themselves having to defend their lives when they are accused of sexual and criminal misconduct. The Reverend Rider (Reginald Tate) and his sister Mary (Robson) are at their wit’s end as they attempt to pour cold water on the mounting hysteria by urging villagers to ignore what is just a malicious desire to stir up trouble but even Rider’s daughter Ann (Ann Todd) becomes a target with lewd suggestions linking her to a man, not her fiancée.The structured social life of the town falls apart, the letters bear a local postmark so no-one is above suspicion but the main brunt of ill feeling falls on “the Foreigner”, Connie (Catherine Lacey), a shy Welsh girl, who seems completely bewildered. Considering the letter writer seems to have an insightful knowledge into everyone’s personal circumstances, villagers begin to wonder if the letters bear some truth. Someone taking it completely to heart is Sam Hurrin (Newton) who is driven out of his mind by allegations that his young wife Sukel (Belle Chrystall) is carrying on with a very likable storekeeper who is completely innocent but that doesn’t stop Sam rushing from the house with murder on his mind.Things come to a head when Connie is found hanged in the church tower and Rider delivers a searing speech from the pulpit. That doesn’t stop the letters, for by now the writer, according to the Scotland Yard man called in, is in a manic state obsessed with the village having to pay for their life as an unpaid drudge. Just a great example of how with everything going right, British movie making could produce a pearl on a shoestring budget.