Candles at Nine

Last updated

Candles at Nine
Candles at Nine (1944 film).jpg
Opening title
Directed by John Harlow
Screenplay by Basil Mason
John Harlow
Based onnovel The Mouse Who Wouldn't Play Ball by Anthony Gilbert [1]
Produced byWallace Orton
Starring Jessie Matthews
John Stuart
Beatrix Lehmann
Cinematography James Wilson
Edited byVi Burdon (uncredited)
Music byscore composed & directed by:
Charles Williams
Distributed byAnglo-American Film Corporation (UK)
Release date
  • 1944 (1944)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Candles at Nine is a 1944 British mystery film directed by John Harlow and starring Jessie Matthews, John Stuart and Beatrix Lehmann. [2] A wealthy man taunts his relations and staff about which of them shall inherit his estate after he changes his Will; the same night, he falls down the stairs. His money is left to a distant female relative; a target for intrigue, from some, and murder, from another. [3] It is based on the 1943 novel The Mouse Who Wouldn't Play Ball by Anthony Gilbert.



After the mysterious death of wealthy old Everard Hope (Eliot Makeham), his avaricious relatives are little pleased to discover that his estate has been left to distant relation Dorothea Capper (Jessie Matthews), a young showgirl. The one condition of the will is that she must stay in Hope's spooky mansion for a month. After several attempts on Dorothea's life, detective William Gardener (John Stuart) decides to investigate.


Critical reception

TV Guide dismissed the film as a "Tedious mystery"; [4] while Allmovie wrote, "the creaky pacing by director John Harlow makes the first half of the movie seem more soporific than atmospheric...the movie finally takes off when Matthews shows up on screen, and the visuals, the editing, the music, and the pacing all come to life. The problem there is that she looks a little long-of-tooth for the role she's playing, in terms of the element of wide-eyed wonder that she must display at her sudden good fortune -- at 37, even with lots of energy and great makeup, she looks awkward doing a role that would have been better suited to her in 1934. Beatrix Lehmann's portrayal of the housekeeper whose services she inherits comes from the Judith Anderson school of performing...and her creepy portrayal is one of the best things in the movie. There are also a couple of charming (and brief) musical sequences, one of them breaking the tension at just the right moment as the thriller's plot winds tighter. The whole thing doesn't hang together seamlessly, but it's an enjoyable diversion, if one hangs in past the first 18 minutes' tedium." [5]

Related Research Articles

<i>Middlemarch</i> Novel by George Eliot (pen name of Mary Ann Evans)

Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life is a novel by the English author Mary Anne Evans, who wrote as George Eliot. It first appeared in eight instalments (volumes) in 1871 and 1872. Set in Middlemarch, a fictional English Midland town, in 1829 to 1832, it follows distinct, intersecting stories with many characters. Issues include the status of women, the nature of marriage, idealism, self-interest, religion, hypocrisy, political reform, and education. Despite comic elements, Middlemarch uses realism to encompass historical events: the 1832 Reform Act, early railways, and the accession of King William IV. It looks at medicine of the time and reactionary views in a settled community facing unwelcome change. Eliot began writing the two pieces that formed the novel in 1869–1870 and completed it in 1871. Initial reviews were mixed, but it is now seen widely as her best work and one of the great English novels.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jessie Matthews</span> English actress (1907–1981)

Jessie Margaret Matthews was an English actress, dancer and singer of the 1920s and 1930s, whose career continued into the post-war period.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Judith Anderson</span> Australian stage and screen actress (1897–1992)

Dame Frances Margaret Anderson,, known professionally as Judith Anderson, was an Australian actress who had a successful career in stage, film and television. A pre-eminent stage actress in her era, she won two Emmy Awards and a Tony Award and was also nominated for a Grammy Award and an Academy Award. She is considered one of the 20th century's greatest classical stage actors.

Aqualad is the name of two fictional comic book superheroes appearing in media published by DC Entertainment. The first Aqualad, Garth, debuted in February 1960 in Adventure Comics #269 and was created by writer Robert Bernstein and artist Ramona Fradon. This Aqualad also appeared in animated form on television in 1967 and 1968.

Aquagirl Comics character

Aquagirl is the alias of several fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, depicted as the female counterpart to Aqualad and the junior counterpart of Aquaman. Originally, the first two incarnations of the characters, Lisa Morel and Selena, were introduced as one-off characters in one-off stories.

<i>Double Wedding</i> (1937 film) 1937 film

Double Wedding is a 1937 American romantic comedy film starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, and featuring Florence Rice, John Beal, Jessie Ralph, and Edgar Kennedy. This was the seventh pairing of Powell and Loy, with another seven to go. It was directed by Richard Thorpe from a screenplay by Jo Swerling based on the unpublished play Nagy szerelem by Ferenc Molnár.

Patrick Garland British director, writer, and actor (1935–2013)

Patrick Ewart Garland was a British director, writer and actor.

Beatrix Lehmann British actress

Beatrix Alice Lehmann was a British actress, theatre director, writer and novelist.

Sara Jeannette Duncan Canadian author and journalist (1861–1922)

Sara Jeannette Duncan was a Canadian author and journalist, who also published as Mrs. Everard Cotes and Garth Grafton among other names. First trained as a teacher in a normal school, she took to poetry early in life and after a brief teaching period worked as a travel writer for Canadian newspapers and a columnist for the Toronto Globe. Afterward she wrote for the Washington Post where she was put in charge of the current literature section. Later she made a journey to India and married an Anglo-Indian civil servant thereafter dividing her time between England and India. She wrote 22 works of fiction, many with international themes and settings. Her novels met with mixed acclaim and are rarely read today. In 2016, she was named a National Historic Person on the advice of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

Rosamond Lehmann English writer

Rosamond Nina Lehmann was an English novelist and translator. Her first novel, Dusty Answer (1927), was a succès de scandale; she subsequently became established in the literary world and intimate with members of the Bloomsbury set. Her novel The Ballad and the Source received particular critical acclaim.

<i>The Good Companions</i> (1933 film) 1933 film

The Good Companions is a 1933 British comedy film directed by Victor Saville starring Jessie Matthews, John Gielgud and Edmund Gwenn. It is based on the 1929 novel of the same name by J.B. Priestley.

<i>There Goes the Bride</i> (1932 film) 1932 film

There Goes the Bride is a 1932 British comedy film directed by Albert de Courville and starring Jessie Matthews, Owen Nares, Carol Goodner, Basil Radford and Roland Culver. The screenplay concerns a woman who breaks off her an engagement and escapes to Paris. It is a remake of the German film Mary's Start in die Ehe, also known as Ich bleib' bei dir (1931). David Niven makes his film debut in a tiny uncredited role.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eliot Makeham</span> English actor

Harold Elliott Makeham was an English film and television actor.

<i>Head over Heels</i> (1937 film) 1937 film

Head Over Heels is a 1937 British musical film directed by Sonnie Hale and starring Jessie Matthews, Robert Flemyng and Louis Borel. It was released in the U.S. as Head over Heels in Love.

<i>Suspected Person</i> 1942 film by Lawrence Huntington

Suspected Person is a 1942 British drama film directed by Lawrence Huntington and starring Clifford Evans, Patricia Roc and David Farrar. The film was made at Welwyn Studios by Associated British, one of the two leading British studios of the era. It was released in the United States in 1944 by Producers Releasing Corporation.

<i>Wildcat</i> (film) 1942 film by Frank McDonald

Wildcat is a 1942 American drama film directed by Frank McDonald and written by Richard Murphy and Maxwell Shane. The film stars Richard Arlen, Arline Judge, William Frawley, Buster Crabbe, Arthur Hunnicutt, Elisha Cook, Jr. and Ralph Sanford. The film was released on September 3, 1942, by Paramount Pictures.

Dorothea Chalmers Smith Scottish doctor and suffragette (1874–1944)

Elizabeth "Dorothea" Chalmers Smithnée Lyness was a pioneer doctor and a militant Scottish suffragette. She was imprisoned for eight months for breaking and entering, and attempted arson, where she went on hunger strike.

Barbara Ruthven was a Scottish courtier and favourite of Anne of Denmark, expelled from court after the death of her brother.

<i>The Mouse Who Wouldnt Play Ball</i> 1943 novel

The Mouse Who Wouldn't Play Ball is a 1943 mystery thriller novel by the British writer Anthony Gilbert, the pen name of Lucy Beatrice Malleson. It was the twelfth in a long-running series featuring her unscrupulous London lawyer Arthur Crook. It was released in the United States the following year under the alternative title of Thirty Days to Live.

Annie Hearn was the assumed but known name of an arsenic poisoner in England in the 1920s/30s. Whilst Annie was found not guilty, all modern opinion concludes the weight of coincidental would point to her having murdered at least three people.


  1. Goble, Alan (1 January 1999). The Complete Index to Literary Sources in Film. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN   9783110951943 via Google Books.
  2. "Candles at Nine (1944)".
  3. "Candles at Nine (1945)". Archived from the original on 14 January 2009.
  4. "Candles At Nine".
  5. "Candles at Nine (1944) - John Harlow - Review - AllMovie". AllMovie.