Trent's Last Case - DVD review
Optimum DVD retail/rental
Following the 1920 original and Howard Hawks’ 1929 remake, this third version of the archetypal English country house murder mystery, based on EC Bentley’s novel and made in 1952, is a workmanlike whodunnit directed by Irish journeyman Herbert Wilcox. Michael Wilding (best known as Elizabeth Taylor’s second husband) makes a handsome but bland lead as the painter, reporter and sleuth Phillip Trent, here investigating the death of American business tycoon Sigsbee Manderson, found with a bullet in him on the grounds of his Hampshire mansion.
Rather more interesting than either Wilding or the nuts and bolts plot is the presence of seductive Margaret The Wicked Lady Lockwood as the dead man’s beautiful wife and Orson Welles, playing the deceased in flashback and under heavy prosthetics. In Europe and Africa the same year to film his celebrated version of Othello, Welles cheekily quotes at length from the Bard’s play about murderous jealously. Oh, and Kenneth Williams makes his first – and uncredited – screen appearance as the gardener. No extras. (Miles Fielder)