Spoilers follow ...
- Footsteps in the Fog review by NP
When grief-stricken Stephen Lowry (Stewart Grainger) faces life alone after burying his wife, our heart goes out to him. Rarely has a house looked so sumptuously forlorn and bleak, cold and kissed by the rain’s cold embrace. A theatrical statement it’s true, but fittingly so, because this is an epic matinee from Columbia; a huge, star-stuffed extravaganza. Our sympathy lessens when Lowry (a) kicks his cat and almost as bad, (b) is found to have poisoned his dear departed, causing her demise.
Wily, picked-on maid Lily Watkins (Jean Simmons) uses her knowledge of this to gain career momentum within the house. The inappropriately jovial behaviour of the court where Lowry faces a trial for murder notwithstanding, he and Watkins appear to share a curious connection – she is quite the most sympathetic and appealing blackmailer portrayed in a film, and it is understandable she and Lowry strike up a believable relationship: they have both met their match. The two leads are excellent throughout, with a very subtle ‘knowing’ performance from Grainger; backed up by an excellent cast including Victor Maddern, Bill Travers, Peter Bull and the original Doctor Who, William Hartnell.
A dark-humoured exercise in dealing and double dealing, of macabre machinations and sinister goings-on behind closed doors – and all wrapped up in lavish atmospherics of swirling winds, pea-soupers and other such horror trappings. Rarely have they looked so good.
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