Review: ‘Persecution’

In this British-made gothic suspenser, Lana Turner toplines as a sick-in-the-head mother who has killed her husband and goes on to blight her bastard son's life, ultimately seeing that his child and marriage are destroyed before she herself ends up an ironic corpse. It's all heavy with Freud-laden symbols.

In this British-made gothic suspenser, Lana Turner toplines as a sick-in-the-head mother who has killed her husband and goes on to blight her bastard son’s life, ultimately seeing that his child and marriage are destroyed before she herself ends up an ironic corpse. It’s all heavy with Freud-laden symbols.

The old-fashioned meller is riddled with ho-hum and sometimes laughably trite scripting. Also, very tame in the shock horror department. Under the circumstances, Turner’s performance as Carrie, the perverted dame of the English manor, has reasonable poise.

As told partly in flashback, Turner’s sadistic saga originates when her husband (Patrick Allen), discovering she’s pregnant from an affair, dumps her down a staircase, leaving her with a lame leg. She avenges the experience by killing hubby. Deeply embittered, she starves the bastard son for love that she lavishes instead on her pet cat.

There isn’t much animation to Ralph Bates as the grown-up edition of the tormented son. Suzan Farmer is okay as his wife, and Olga Georges-Picot is physically right as the prostie hired by Turner to seduce Bates and break up his marriage.

Persecution

UK

Production

Tyburn. Director Don Chaffey; Producer Kevin Francis; Screenplay Robert B. Hutton, Rosemary Wootten, Frederick Warner; Camera Kenneth Talbot; Editor Mike Campbell; Music Paul Ferris; Art Director Jack Shampan

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1974. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Lana Turner Ralph Bates Trevor Howard Olga Georges-Picot Suzan Farmer Patrick Allen
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