A Place of One’s Own

May 27, 2013 at 3:44 am (5 Heads, Place of One's Own) (, , , , )

A Place of One’s Own – 1945 – England

An elderly couple moves to an old manor. They hire a young female “companion” named Annette. Her charming personality wins the couple’s love and the attention of a handsome doctor. Meanwhile, signs suggest the manor is haunted. Whispers sound through the house’s system of “speaking tubes”, and Annette suddenly performs piano music she’s never heard. Local legend claims the manor’s former inhabitants systematically poisoned their invalid daughter. At a party announcing Annette’s engagement to the doctor, an ominous storm erupts. Afterward, she is possessed by the ghost of the invalid girl. As Annette grows increasingly ill, her loved ones sink into despair as they struggle ineffectually to save her. Of course, after a supernatural intervention, everything turns out fine.

A Place of One’s Own is one of the Gainsborough Melodramas, a cycle of unrelated films produced between 1943 and 1946 by the English studio Gainsborough Pictures. Often based on popular novels, they commonly feature histrionic tales of love and redemption with occasional supernatural elements.

A Place of One’s Own is a predictable story told in a straightforward way. However, there is something pleasantly traditional about it. With few characters, limited sets, and a lack of effects, it could be a play as easily as a film. This simplicity provides an appealing aura of elegance.

Gently blending drama, horror, and humor, A Place of One’s Own is as enjoyable as a cheaply produced, antiquated melodrama can be. However, some patience is required to endure the stodgy rituals, vernacular, and sexism of the English aristocracy—unless you dig that sort of thing.

Rating: 5/10 Shrunken Heads. Go see it, Anglophiles.

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