10 Rillington Place (1971)
Directed by Richard Fleischer
Starring Richard Attenborough, Judy Geeson, John Hurt, Pat Heywood, Isobel Black
Being a fan of horror movies for over 40 decades, one would think that “we’ve seen it all”. But that is not even close to being true. In fact, not only is there plenty of movies that I still need to see, there are still a ton of titles out there that I’ve probably not even heard! And while most of them probably aren’t the greatest, there are some out there that are truly amazing pieces of cinema. The kind that after you watch it, you wonder just how in the hell have you never even heard of this movie, let alone seen it before. 10 Rillington Place is a prime example of this.
A friend had sent me a DVD that had a few different movies on it, this being one of them, that he through on there as a bonus, thinking I might like it. Watching this film, with this dark and doomed story unfolding before me, had me captivated right from the beginning. This had much to do with the performance of the lead, Richard Attenborough, who plays John Christie, a British serial killer that changed Britain’s law on capital punishment. It is hard to believe that this is the same actor that created the dinosaurs for Spielberg’s Jurassic Park or even played Santa Claus in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street, that gives such a chilling performance here.
Judy Geeson and John Hurt play a young couple that gets caught up in the world of Christie, which doesn’t end well for either of them. Hurt also gives such a sad performance as a man who isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but that ends up being charged with a murder he didn’t commit. Pat Heywood plays Mrs. Christie, the poor woman who suspects the nefarious deeds her husband might be up to but is too scared to say anything. The real highlight here is Attenborough who gives such a eerie and stellar performance as the twisted Christie. I would rate this right up there with the likes of Joe Spinell in Maniac (1980) and Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs (1991).
I will say that the fact that some of the production was filmed at the actual crime scene is a bit unnerving.
Long out-of-print on DVD, Twilight Time has just released this in a special edition blu-ray that comes with two different audio commentaries, one with John Hurt, and another with actress Judy Geeson along with film historians Lem Dobbs and Nick Redman. I haven’t had the chance to listen to them yet, but I know the movie along is worth the price.