Retro-Review: New on BluRay from Kino Lorber Redemption; help me out and pick it up on DVD/BluRay here on Amazon!
THE ORCHARD END MURDER (1981)
Directed by Christian Marnham
Written by Christian Marnham
Starring Bill Wallis, Tracy Hyde, Clive Mantle, Raymond Adamson, Mark Hardy, Cyril Cross, Jessie Evans, Mollie Maureen, David Wilkinson, Geoffrey Frederick, Peter Hutchins, Alexander John, Alan Neame, Rik Mayall
THE ORCHARD END MURDER feels like only a portion of a full movie or maybe a subplot of a much larger film. While everything is there. There is a start, middle, and end. There’s a murder, an investigation, and a conviction. But still, even without taking note of the short run time – which clocks in just under an hour, this film tells a bare bones story, but still manages to pack a solid punch.
When a young lady (the enchanting Tracy Hyde) wanders away from her boyfriend’s cricket match, she ends up at a nearby orchard which is the home to its eccentric owner and his dim witted ranch hand. After having tea with the ranch owner, the young lady is murdered and her body is buried in a nearby field. The rest of the film follows a team of investigators trying to figure out what happened to the young girl.
THE ORCHARD END MURDER is pretty much made up of two scenes; the murder and the investigation. The lead up and resolution are almost secondary. Part of me loves this no frills version of storytelling. Sure there are a few cool little details like the orchard owner’s odd collection of garden gnomes or the truly bizarre way the young lady’s body is buried with her butt cheeks sticking out of the ground, but for the most part, you get more character and subtext from any random episode of LAW & ORDER.
The murder is pretty brutal and there is a rather tense scene where the body—hastily buried in a pile of apples, is almost discovered. Despite the straight forward way this one plays out, it maintains a creepy factor that you just can’t shake. That might be because the film is supposedly based on real life events. The film also takes great advantage of the vast apple orchard with piles of rotting apples in all directions, providing an almost fairy tale atmosphere for the wrongdoing to occur. Either way, THE ORCHARD END MURDER is a brief, but still macabre little slice of murder.
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