Friday, 20 February 2009


Miles Malleson and Michael Wilding

This third film version of E.C.Bentley's famous detective novel (the second, in 1929, had been directed by Howard Hawks) is directed by Herbert Wilcox, a director who though popular in the box-office of the time is hardly going to make it onto anybody's top director list. TRENT'S LAST CASE certainly does have its admirers although I can't really claim to be one of them. It is a puzzle story but one almost totally lacking in suspense. The eponymous Trent is played by Michel Wilding whose fresh faced charm is totally unsuited to this type of story. Margaret Lockwood is reliable as chief suspect and romantic interest and Orson Welles, while very good as the victim (at one point referring to his own stage production of Othello and saying he "didn't like the lead actor") only gets twenty minutes screen time. Lovely Miles Malleson gets a meatier role than usual and there is a funny cameo from a very young Kenneth Williams as an Irish gardener. Interesting if you are a Welles completist but be prepared not to be thrilled. Rating **

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