Mystery Junction (1951)

UK / 61 minutes / bw / Merton Park, Anglo-Amalgamated Dir & Scr: Michael McCarthy Pr: William H. Williams Cine: Robert LaPresle Cast: Sydney Tafler, Barbara Murray, Pat Owens (i.e., Patricia Owens), Martin Benson, Christine Silver, David Davies, Charles Irwin, Philip Dale, Pearl Cameron, John Salew, Ewen Solon, Denis Webb, Cyril Smith, Sydney Monckton, Stanley Rose.

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Every now and then the UK’s cheapie studio Merton Park could produce a gem, and this is arguably one of them. Mystery Junction may not be a diamond or an opal, but at the very least it’s a fine piece of costume jewelry. In Sydney Tafler, Barbara Murray, Ewen Solon, Patricia Owens, Martin Benson and others it had the kind of cast that most B-movies could only dream of.

Snowy, snowy weather. Elderly spinster Miss Jessica Owens (Silver) is on the train from Pickering to Stanton and points beyond when she realizes that the man sharing her compartment is none other than Larry Gordon (Tafler), author of the thriller to which she has been glued ever since the train left Pickering two hours ago. Of course, he signs her book for her and, with that distinctive smile that authors produce when (a) the good news is that they’re being fawned on and (b) the bad news is that this is likely to be tiresome, he starts answering a few of her questions along the lines of “Where Continue reading

Crow Hollow (1952)

UK / 67 minutes / bw / Merton Park, Eros Dir: Michael McCarthy Pr: William H. Williams Scr: Vivian Milroy Story: Crow Hollow (1950) by Dorothy Eden Cine: Robert LaPresle Cast: Donald Houston, Natasha Parry, Pat Owens, Esma Cannon, Nora Nicholson, Susan Richmond, Meadows White, Melissa Stribling, Penelope Munday, Ewen Solon, Denis Webb, Georgie Henschel, Gordon Bell, Janet Barrow, Norman Claridge, Doris Yorke.

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Within days of their meeting, Dr. Robert “Bob” Armour (Houston) has proposed to and been accepted by Ann (Parry), and they marry almost immediately. They plan to live at Crow Hollow, Bob’s ancestral pile somewhere in the Home Counties, with Bob’s three elderly aunts. First, though, the young couple go to visit an aged family friend of Bob’s, Mrs. Wilson (Barrow), who’s ailing in hospital. Briefly alone with Ann, the dying Mrs. Wilson beseeches the young woman: “Don’t let him take you to Crow Hollow!” It’s a moment of high drama that, alas, doesn’t quite mesh with the rest of the plot; luckily this is one of those points that doesn’t occur to you until later.

Ignoring the old woman’s warning—because otherwise there wouldn’t be a story—Bob and Ann go to Crow Hollow as planned. The place got its name because the valley in which the house stands used to be infested by crows, whose presence was regarded as bringing ill luck to the valley’s occupants. Then, about fifty years ago, the crows suddenly departed. It takes no genius to guess that, as the tale progresses, the crows will start returning . . .

Crow Hollow - 1 Judith welcomes Ann & Bob to CH

Aunt Judith (Esma Cannon) welcomes Ann (Natasha Parry) and Bob (Donald Houston) to Crow Hollow.

Already embedded in Crow Hollow are the three aunts, sisters of Bob’s late father, all three of whom greet Ann in their different ways, though Continue reading