Catacombs (1965)

aka The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die
Article 3462 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-28-2010
Posting Date: 2-5-2011
Directed by Gordon Hessler
Featuring Gary Merrill, Georgina Cookson, Jane Merrow
Country: UK
What it is: Thriller

A man is stuck in an unhappy marriage with a rich but dominating woman. He hatches a plot with one of his wife’s business associates to kill her for the money. However, complications arise…

One of these days I’m tempted to make a list of the most imitated movies of all time, and on that list will appear a French thriller from the fifties that inspired a whole slew of imitations. Here’s another one of them, and once you recognize the pattern, there will be very little to surprise you plotwise here. However, it does get some points for interesting characters and the avoidance of stereotypes; Gary Merrill gives a strong performance that makes you feel just what it must be like to have to make love to a woman who repulses you, and Georgina Cookson’s domineering wife character has some really fascinating ways of wielding her power. This was also Gordon Hessler’s first movie as a director, and overall it holds up pretty well; it’s certainly easier to follow than some of his more famous movies. Not bad.


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