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Rent The Franchise Affair (1951)

3.7 of 5 from 52 ratings
1h 25min
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Young lawyer Robert Blair (Michael Denison) is called on in desperation by two women, mother and daughter, who live in a large, isolated house known as The Franchise, and have been questioned by the police in connection with a peculiar accusation. As feelings in the local village run high, the police build up a case on a formidable amount of circumstantial evidence - against which Blair can put only the improbability of the charge, and some unsuccessful amateur detection...
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Robert Hall
Robert Hall, Lawrence Huntington, Josephine Tey
Classics, Drama, Romance, Thrillers
Getting to Know..., Getting to Know: Kenneth More, Top 10 British Actresses of the 1940s, Top Films
Release Date:
Run Time:
85 minutes
English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
B & W
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Reviews (2) of The Franchise Affair

Dulcie Gray Gardens - The Franchise Affair review by CH

Spoiler Alert

“We've just flown in our broomsticks for some blood.” So says Marjorie Fielding in The Franchise Affair (1951) as she and her daughter (Dulcie Gray) turn up in a small-town teashop (the Anne Boelyn Café!) and find that, amidst their pastries, the other customers have swallowed the local assertions that they are witches who have kidnapped a teenager (Ann Stephens) in the fine house which they have inherited and are hard pressed to maintain.

From a novel by Josephine Tey which was based on an eighteenth-century case, this becomes a matchless depiction of a bruised post-war England in which, bizarrely, a narrowly-focussed Buckinghamshire newspaper is called The Globe. Its front-page headlines echo through the film - capably directed by Lawrence Huntington - as regularly as trays of teapots are placed upon the desks of such people as local, smart-suited solicitor Michael Denison who takes on a case far removed from his usual province of conveyancing and codicils in what was “a quiet, dignified little place” which duly includes a reference to “the situation at Bourne End”.

A resonant time in 2021: somebody says of all this, “they wouldn't put a thing like that in the paper if it wasn't true.”

As it happens, wild rumours fly, brought to earth by a case which reaches the Assizes and the Judge is bound to say, “do confine yourself to English - Standard or Basic” - as testimony becomes fraught, and, earlier, one those involved feels compelled to say, “it's like wanting to be sick, and having to postpone it.”

A strange aspect of all this is that, fifteen years later, Ann Stephens died in equally mysterious circumstances. All of this is, on screen and life, a case, as Michael Denison says along the way, “you can't go through life with a tin can tied to your tail and pretend it isn't there.”

One might wonder whether the surnames “Fielding” and “Gray” inspired Simon Gray's wonderfully immoral character Fielding Gray.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Angry Locals. - The Franchise Affair review by Steve

Spoiler Alert

Unassuming but suspenseful thriller adapted from a novel by Josephine Tey, who often based her stories on historic cases. This is taken from an infamous controversy from the 18th century, but updated to an English country town after WWII.

A teenage girl goes missing for two weeks. On her return she claims to have been kidnapped and beaten by a pair of unpopular outsiders. The angry locals believe her story and wage a campaign of hate against the middle aged spinster (Dulcie Gray) and her waspish, elderly aunt (Marjorie Fielding).

Gray's real life husband Michael Denison plays the solicitor who kindly investigates. The mystery rather disappointingly unravels with the testament of a couple of convenient strangers during the climactic court case, but most of the way this is a intriguing premise. And there is real suspense while we consider who is telling the truth.

It opens like film noir with a breathless girl in a thin dress running down an A road in the rain, but settles into a whimsical rural comedy-mystery, populated by bumpkins and their well spoken betters. Kenneth More plays mankind's poshest mechanic. It's a minor film, but quietly captivating, with some wonderful dialogue.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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