Murder, Obliquely

1993

"The title is perfect . . . you should wonder."
Alan Rickman


Photo courtesy of Georgiana by way of Claire

Overall rating: Five hands

Rickmaniac rating: Five hands

Synopsis: Annie Ainsley becomes infatuated with Dwight Billings, who is obsessed with Bernette.

B&W photo courtesy of Suzanne

This is the perfect short film noir crime story. The cast, the directing by Alfonso Cuaron, the settings, the writing, lighting, background music, and clothes were all wonderful and pleased this fan of the genre. The greater part of the film was made on location in a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Los Angeles.

Alan Rickman at his most handsome plays Dwight Billings in a very seductive, but subtle, way. It is easy to understand why Annie Ainsley, played by Laura Dern, could become so captivated by this man in so little time, since the action takes place within a six-week span.

Normally I don't like films with extensive voice-overs, but Laura Dern spoke in a natural voice, as if she was confiding in a friend the story of how she met this guy. While Annie does the narrating, Rickman's body language tells the story: I especially enjoyed the scenes by the doorways, and the contrast between his body language when they were alone in his living room and when they are by the doors (both at his place and hers). I was also grateful that there was no violence and no foul language, in keeping with the 40's style of the film. You are gently led to the film's conclusion.

When my mom saw this video, her comment was "Mr. Rickman is a very sensuos man". Rickmaniacs will love how AR looks in a jacquard silk robe.

This is a Rickmaniac must.

Of all the films and videos I've seen featuring Mr. Rickman, this is my very favorite.

Reviewed by Fausta on Dec. 10, 1997. M,O was first broadcast in the Fallen Angels Showtime series on cable TV, and can be found in Polygram Video's Fallen Angels, sandwiched between two other episodes which I did not enjoy as much. Video no longer in release, but you might luck out at your local store, or at the on-line auctions.

There is also a companion book still in print, Fallen Angels: Six Noir Tales Told For Television, Grove Press, 1993, 274pp., ISBN 0-8021-3383-5, which contains Cornell Woolrich's original story, and the teleplay by Amanda Silver.

Alfonso Cuarón, Director,
from Vanidades Continental Magazine, #8, April 1998

Translated as Love In The Time of Hysteria Mexican director’s Alfonso Cuarón’s film Sólo con tu pareja (1991) was a huge success with the English Speaking public. It’s a low budget comedy with a tragic theme, AIDS.
Once in the USA, Cuarón directed a few episodes of the series Fallen Angels, which earned him the CableAce prize as best director. He then produced A Long Way To Tijuana, and made his American film directing debut with A Little Princess.
Great Expectations, based on Dickens’s novel, is his latest success, with an all-star cast featuring Robert DeNiro, Anne Bancroft, Ethan Hawke, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Here are some photos, courtesy of Stezi and Suzanne,

Laura Dern fans might want to visit Laura Dern, in Spanish.