Trent's Last Case (1952 film)

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Trent's Last Case
"Trent's Last Case" (1952).jpg
British theatrical poster
Directed by Herbert Wilcox
Produced byHerbert Wilcox
Written by E.C. Bentley (novel)
Pamela Bower
Starring Michael Wilding
Margaret Lockwood
Orson Welles
John McCallum
Music by Anthony Collins
Cinematography Mutz Greenbaum
Edited by Bill Lewthwaite
Production
company
Imperadio Pictures Ltd. (Herbert Wilcox)
Distributed by Republic Pictures
Release date
29 October 1952
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Box office£155,903 (UK) [1]

Trent's Last Case is a 1952 British detective film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Michael Wilding, Margaret Lockwood, Orson Welles and John McCallum. [2] It was based on the 1913 novel Trent's Last Case by E. C. Bentley, and had been filmed previously in the UK with Clive Brook in 1920, and in a 1929 US version. [3] [4]

Contents

Plot

A major international financier is found dead at his Hampshire home. The Record newspaper assigns its leading investigative reporter, Phillip Trent, to the case. In spite of the police cordon, he manages to gain entry to the house by posing as a relative. While there he manages to pick up some of the background to the case from Inspector Murch, the Irish detective leading the investigation. Despite Murch's suggestion that the death is suicide, Trent quickly becomes convinced that it was in fact murder.

At the inquest, the coroner swiftly concludes that the deceased, Sigsbee Manderson, had killed himself. Trent, however, is given permission by his editor to continue to pursue the story. His attention is drawn to Manderson's widow, Margaret.

Cast

Production

Margaret Lockwood had just signed a contract with Herbert Wilcox who was better known for making films with his wife, Anna Neagle. Neagle and Lockwood were among the most popular British stars in the country in the 1940s. Lockwood's career had been in a slump and this film was seen as a comeback. It was her first film in two years. [5] [6] The arrangement with Wilcox would kill off Lockwood's career as a star. [7]

Herbert Wilcox wrote in his memoirs that he paid Orson Welles £12,000 for his role but because Welles was in so much debt the actor wound up with only £150. Wilcox and Welles worked together again on Trouble in the Glen (1954). [8]

Lockwood wrote in her memoirs that she adored working with Wilcox. She said "Orson is a genius and like most geniuses in my experience, sometimes a trifle off. His oddity, or so it seemed t me while making this picture, was that he wanted to play his love scenes with me entirely by himself; without me... I must say they were very successful." [9]

In one scene, Eileen Joyce is shown playing part of Mozart's C minor Concerto, K. 491 at the Royal Opera House with an orchestra under Anthony Collins.

Critical reception

Leonard Maltin rated the film 2.5 out of 4 stars and noted "superior cast in lukewarm tale of the investigation of businessman's death" while Jay Carr on the TCM website, wrote, "In Trent's Last Case, Welles shares the spotlight with his spectacular putty nose. It's a mighty ice-breaker of a nose, straight-edged as a steel blade, pulverizing all in its path, including whatever pretension to credibility this creaky British murder mystery might have retained." [10] [11]

Related Research Articles

<i>Trents Last Case</i>

Trent's Last Case is a detective novel written by E. C. Bentley and first published in 1913. Its central character, the artist and amateur detective Philip Trent, reappeared subsequently in the novel Trent's Own Case (1936), and the short-story collection Trent Intervenes (1938).

Anna Neagle English stage and film actress and singer

Dame Florence Marjorie Wilcox, known professionally as Anna Neagle, was an English stage and film actress, singer and dancer.

Michael Wilding English actor

Michael Charles Gauntlet Wilding was an English stage, television, and film actor. He is best known for a series of films he made with Anna Neagle, for the two films he made with Alfred Hitchcock and for being Elizabeth Taylor's second husband.

Margaret Lockwood British stage and film actress

Margaret Lockwood, CBE, was an English actress. One of Britain's most popular film stars of the 1930s and 1940s, her film appearances included The Lady Vanishes (1938), Night Train to Munich (1940), The Man in Grey (1943), and The Wicked Lady (1945). She was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best British Actress for the 1955 film Cast a Dark Shadow. She also starred in the television series Justice (1971–74).

John McCallum (actor)

John Neil McCallum, was an Australian theatre and film actor, highly successful in the United Kingdom. He was also a television producer.

Herbert Wilcox Film producer and director from Britain

Herbert Sydney Wilcox CBE, was a British film producer and director who was one of the most successful British filmmakers from the 1920s to the 1950s. He is best known for the films he made with his third wife Anna Neagle.

<i>Derby Day</i> (1952 film)

Derby Day is a 1952 British drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Googie Withers, John McCallum, Peter Graves, Suzanne Cloutier and Gordon Harker. An ensemble piece, it portrays several characters on their way to the Derby Day races at Epsom Downs Racecourse. It was an attempt to revive the success that Neagle and Wilding had previously had opposite each other, but it failed in this regard. In an effort to promote the film Wilcox arranged for Neagle to launch the film at the 1952 Epsom Derby. In the United States it was released as Four against Fate.

<i>These Dangerous Years</i>

These Dangerous Years is a 1957 British drama musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring George Baker, Frankie Vaughan, Carole Lesley, Thora Hird, Kenneth Cope, David Lodge and John Le Mesurier.

<i>The Man Who Wouldnt Talk</i> (1958 film)

The Man Who Wouldn't Talk is a 1958 British drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox. It starred Anna Neagle, Anthony Quayle, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Dora Bryan, John Le Mesurier and Lloyd Lamble.

The National Film Awards were the first ever national film awards held in Britain. They were sponsored by the Daily Mail newspaper with readers voting at cinemas across the country, for Best Actor, Actress, and Film. The inaugural event was held at the Dorchester Hotel, London in 1946.

<i>The Queens Affair</i>

The Queen's Affair is a 1934 British musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Fernand Gravey, Muriel Aked and Edward Chapman. An Eastern European President falls in love with the Queen whom he had previously deposed. It was also released as Queen's Affair and Runaway Queen.

<i>Piccadilly Incident</i>

Piccadilly Incident is a 1946 British drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Coral Browne, Edward Rigby and Leslie Dwyer. Wilcox teamed his wife Anna Neagle with Michael Wilding for the first time, establishing them as top box-office stars in five more films, ending with The Lady with a Lamp in 1951. Wilding was third choice for leading man after Rex Harrison and John Mills.

Nicholas Phipps

Nicholas Phipps was a British actor and screenwriter who appeared in more than thirty films during a career lasting from 1938 to 1970. He was born in London and appeared mainly in British comedy films, often specialising in playing military figures. He was also a screenwriter, sometimes working on the script for films in which he acted. Best known for his collaborations with Herbert Wilcox and Ralph Thomas, Phipps wrote some of the most popular British films of all time, including Spring in Park Lane (1948) and Doctor in the House (1954). He retired from acting in 1970. His script for Doctor in the House was nominated for a BAFTA.

<i>Laughing Anne</i>

Laughing Anne is a 1953 British adventure film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Wendell Corey, Margaret Lockwood, Forrest Tucker, and Ronald Shiner. It was adapted from Joseph Conrad's short story, "Because of the Dollars" and from his 1923 two-act play, Laughing Anne.

<i>Trouble in the Glen</i>

Trouble in the Glen is a 1954 British comedy film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Margaret Lockwood, Orson Welles, Forrest Tucker and Victor McLaglen. It is loosely based on Maurice Walsh's 1950 novel of the same name. It was filmed in Trucolor for Republic Pictures.

Trent's Last Case is a 1929 American Pre-Code detective film directed by Howard Hawks and starring Raymond Griffith, Marceline Day, Raymond Hatton, and Donald Crisp. It was released by Fox Film Corporation. The film was released in a silent version and a sound version, with the sound version having talking sequences, a synchronized music score, and sound effects.

<i>Peg of Old Drury</i>

Peg of Old Drury is a 1935 British historical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Cedric Hardwicke and Margaretta Scott. The film is a biopic of eighteenth-century Irish actress Peg Woffington. It was based on the play Masks and Faces by Charles Reade and Tom Taylor. It contains passages of eighteenth century Shakespearian performance, from The Merchant of Venice, Richard III and As You Like It.

<i>The Lady with a Lamp</i> 1951 film by Herbert Wilcox

The Lady with a Lamp is a 1951 British historical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding and Felix Aylmer. The film depicts the life of Florence Nightingale and her work with wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War.

Trent's Last Case is a 1920 British silent crime film directed by Richard Garrick and starring Gregory Scott, Pauline Peters and Clive Brook. It is an adaptation of the 1913 novel Trent's Last Case by E. C. Bentley. Detective Philip Trent investigates the mysterious murder of the financier Sigsbee Manderson.

Ann Veronica is a 1952 British TV version of the 1909 H. G. Wells novel of the same name.

References

  1. Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p498
  2. "Trent's Last Case (1952) - BFI". BFI.
  3. "Trent's Last Case (1920) - BFI". BFI.
  4. Hal Erickson. "Trent's Last Case (1952) - Herbert Wilcox - Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  5. "Comeback, but feud has ended". The Mail . 41 (2, 060). Adelaide. 24 November 1951. p. 8 (SUNDAY MAGAZINE). Retrieved 1 October 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "£20,000 FILM CONTRACT". The News . 58 (8, 969). Adelaide. 8 May 1952. p. 1. Retrieved 1 October 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  7. Vagg, Stephen (29 January 2020). "Why Stars Stop Being Stars: Margaret Lockwood". Filmink.
  8. Herbert Wilcox, Twenty Five Thousand Sunsets p 134-135
  9. Lockwood, Margaret (1955). Lucky Star: The Autobiography of Margaret Lockwood. Odhams Press Limited. p. 162-163.
  10. "Trent's Last Case (1953) - Overview - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.
  11. "Trent's Last Case (1953) - Articles - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.