Newest Review: ... commendable input is more than enough to compensate. As far as Johnny Dankworth's (credited on the DVD cover as John Dankworth) musical sc... more
John Christie...serial killer!
10 Rillington Place (Special Edition, DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
10 Rillington Place (Special Edition, DVD)
Advantages: Brilliant acting, compelling, atmospheric
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 106 mins
DIRECTOR: Richard Fleischer
PRODUCERS: Leslie Linder & Martin Ransohoff
SCREENPLAY: Clive Exton
MUSIC: Johnny Dankworth
Richard Attenborough as Christie
John Hurt as Timothy Evans
Judy Geeson as Beryl Evans
Pat Heywood as Ethel Christie
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Based on Ludovic Kennedy's book of the same name, 10 Rillington Place delves into the activities of serial killer John Christie.
The film begins in 1949 and is mostly set at 10 Rillington Place (which apparently was demolished shortly after Christie was executed for his crimes) in the Notting Hill district of London....in those days, a rather seedy slum area in contrast to its fashionable and trendy image of more recent times.
Christie and his wife Ethel advertise that they have a small upstairs flat to let in their house, and a young couple (Timothy and Beryl Evans) move in with their young baby. Unbeknown to Timothy and Beryl, the garden is awash with buried dead bodies, victims of Christie's penchant for murder.
Beryl and Timothy have a stormy, argumentative relationship, and before long they discover that another baby is on the way. The couple has serious financial problems due to Beryl's habit of overspending, and she takes some pills obtained through the black market, hoping the dosage will cause a spontaneous miscarriage.
After finding that she is still pregnant as the pills didn't work, Mr. Christie steps in to help - with murderous results - that when the police investigate Beryl's alleged disappearance, he turns around to make it look as though her husband Timothy was the culprit.
That gets the storyline rolling....a storyline which a lot of people who haven't seen the film know the outcome of, due to it being a screen adaptation of events that really happened.
Just before the opening credits roll, a note appears on the screen saying that where possible, the dialogue for the film 10 Rillington Place is based on the contents of official documents.
Watching 10 Rillington Place, especially as it is factual, is a pleasing change from how serial killers are presented In films of later years and today. The only tiny bit of blood contained within has nothing to do with Christie's murders, and there are no knives, swords or any other kind of slashing implements present. The direction/production of the film solely concentrates on presenting a true life story as authentically as possible, with great attention having been paid to choosing the right actors to play the parts of John Christie and Timothy Evans.
10 Rillington Place is a film I have watched several times through my life, and it never ceases to interest and absorb me....on each occasion of viewing, I am glued to the screen from start to finish.
The acting is truly stupendous, with Richard Attenborough giving a first class performance as the quiet, unassuming, yet simultaneously cold, vicious and manipulative serial killer John Christie. A very young John Hurt is astonishing in his role as Welshman Timothy Evans, who although kind and well-meaning at heart, is also capable of being extremely volatile. His inability to read and write (Timothy Evans' inability I mean!!) makes it easier for Christie to transfer all responsibility for Beryl's death over to him.
The only way I can determine this film's accuracy to the real events which took place in the 1940s is to read literature about Christie, and as I see it, 10 Rillington Place seems very close to the truth.
It appears whilst watching this film that Richard Attenborough and John Hurt had a unique rapport with one another as actors, and it really is a joy to watch their interaction. However, I don't find Judy Geeson's and Pat Heywood's performances as Beryl Evans and Ethel Christie respectively to be particularly outstanding; I would deem them no more than adequate, but it doesn't really matter as both Attenborough's and Hurt's highly commendable input is more than enough to compensate.
As far as Johnny Dankworth's (credited on the DVD cover as John Dankworth) musical score is concerned, I only ever notice it during the opening and closing credits....I have yet to become aware of any music during the course of the actual film. As might be expected of Dankworth, the music has a definite jazzy flavour which I find quite pleasant to listen to.
The only little fly in the ointment about 10 Rillington Place....and it is an extremely tiny fly....is that despite several viewings of the film and reading much literature about John Christie himself, it isn't clear to me as to whether his wife was aware of what he was up to or not. As far as the film portrays this, it sometimes seems as if she has no inkling or knowledge whatsoever of her husband's activities, yet at other times it appears she does know yet is either closing off from it inside of her head as an avoidance technique, or is simply standing back and letting her husband do what he feels he has to. However, that very minor issue in no way mars my enjoyment of what truly is an excellent, perhaps even underrated film.
For anybody who is interested in the whole ballgame of serial killers, 10 Rillington Place I feel is probably one of the best films to watch, due to the true story element, John Hurt's and Richard Attenborough's unwaveringly perfect acting and a refreshing absence of blood, guts, gore and slicing instruments. For the most part, it is a quiet, thoughtful film, although the screaming arguments which Beryl and Timothy have...they are noisy, but are acted exceptionally well.
My recommendation? Watch it!
At the time of writing, 10 Rillington Place can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.78 to £59.99
Used: from £6.95 to £7.92
Collectible: One copy currently available @ £3.84 (used)
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summary: A brilliant serial killer film without all the gory, bloodlust trimmngs