Never Too Late To Mend
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- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 7 minutes
- Video: Black & White
- Released: January 25, 2005
- Originally Released: 1937
- Label: Alpha Video
- Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
Performers, Cast and Crew:
|Starring||Tod Slaughter & Marjorie Taylor|
|Directed by||David MacDonald|
|Screenplay by||H.F. Maltby|
Description by OLDIES.com:
A gruesome and deliciously lurid thriller, Never Too Late To Mend places the spotlight firmly on Tod Slaughter, an often-overlooked British horror film star whose performances are always bursting with over-the-top melodrama. The film is based on the writings of Charles Reade, which inspired Queen Victoria to overhaul the deplorable conditions of the era's prison system. Scottish-born director David MacDonald later helmed the unusual British sci-fi thriller Devil Girl From Mars, as well as episodes of the eerie Boris Karloff TV-series "The Veil." Script writer H.F. Maltby also wrote the dialogue for Tod Slaughter's Sweeney Todd and Crimes At The Dark House.
Movie Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:
Based on 203 ratings.
ITS NEVER TO LATE TO MEND is the most traditional of Tod's revived melodramas. It has all the elements and archetypes we expect from the genre. Tod is his usual villainous Squire self. His often comical facial features are better suited to being bewhiskered and having a bushy moustache to twiddle menacingly. As ever, he has his lecherous eye on a virtuous local maiden - Susan, daughter of Farmer Merton. She seeks the penurious local tenant farmer George Fielding (Meadows, Fielding, a slimy solicitor who aid's Tod's schemes called Crawley - the names are not exactly subtle). Tod must be the only wealthy bastard in cinema who never attracts women! But after a failed attempt to convict George for poaching, the young man leaves the country to seek his fortune Down Under.
The opening titles reveal Charles Reade's and Queen Victoria's roles in prison reform and it is in the scenes where Tod visits the local gaol in his capacity of Justice of the Peace that we get to enjoy the full magnitude of his hammy villainy. His inspection of the ranks of his "naughty children" and his mocking remarks are a sadistic joy and one can imagine the audience at the Elephant and Castle theatre chuckling along as he speaks. Black comedy is also present in the Uriah Heep-like performance of one convict who makes a great show of demonstrating his penitence but, we see later, has stolen something from the Governor's office. However, the treatment of the 15-year old convict is genuinely disturbing as is John Singer's anguished breakdown.
The tension is diffused by the lack of a strong protagonist for the Squire. George Fielding is sidelined in Australia for the bulk of the narrative - returning only for the climax. The Prison Chaplain provides only token resistance to Tod's reign of terror at the gaol but appears like the 7th cavalry at the end. The main adversary is local poacher Tom Robinson - gallantly taking the blame instead of George for Tod's trumped-up poaching charge. Tom's decline from the jaunty, confident rogue of the opening scenes to a shell of his former self in prison is quite chilling, but the spiritual comfort the Chaplain lends him means a reversion to his old self.
Tom thwarts Meadows' attempts to steal George's newfound fortune. As with MARIA MARTEN, Tod has an alarming tendency to go insane at the inopportune moments - usually while holding his enemies at gunpoint as occurs here at the climax His raving madness as he is led away is genuinely alarming and the closing shot is of him relentlessly repeating the films's title as he works away on the "wheel".
Tod Slaughter, last of the great Victorian Melodramaticians (is that a word), takes great joy in handing out cursory punishments in a British prison where he is a "Visiting justice." It is sad that Slaughter has become somewhat forgotten in our fast paced age, for his eye-rolling, scenery chewing, much larger than life acting style is just so much fun. Yes, his is the acting of the late 19th Century, but he is so fascinating to watch. The quality of this DVD is not bad, considering that these films have become so obscure, especially outside of their UK home.
- Sales Rank: 15,537
- UPC: 089218461599
- Shipping Weight: 0.29/lbs (approx)
- International Shipping: 1 item