10 Rillington Place (1971)

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‘The story of the Christie sex-murders!’

10 Rillington Place is a 1971 British crime drama film with a horrific theme directed by Richard Fleischer (Amityville 3-D; See No Evil; The Boston Strangler), adapted by Clive Exton from the book Ten Rillington Place by Ludovic Kennedy. It was released as The Strangler of Rillington Place in the United States.

Main cast:

Richard Attenborough (MagicJurassic Park), John Hurt (The GhoulAlien) and Judy Geeson (Fear in the Night, Inseminoid).

On 28 November 2016, Powerhouse Films released the film as a Blu-ray + DVD combo, to tie-in with the BBC mini-series Rillington Place, starring Tim Roth as strangler John Christie.

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Buy: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

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The film dramatises the case of British serial killer John Christie, who committed most or all of his crimes in the titular house, and the miscarriage of justice involving Timothy Evans.

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Christie strangled at least eight women (including the baby Geraldine Evans), the first two victims being buried in the back garden of the house in 10 Rillington Place during World War II.

After Evans moved into the building with his wife Beryl and infant daughter Geraldine in 1949, Christie convinced his new tenants that he could help Beryl terminate her unwanted pregnancy; he then raped and strangled Beryl. He told Evans that she had died accidentally, and that Evans should leave town until the investigation died down. Evans entrusted Christie with his daughter, whom Christie then murdered as well.

Incompetent police officers neglected to search the property thoroughly, so they missed the bones of the earlier victims visible in the garden. As a result of false confessions, Evans was tried for their murders (specifically, his daughter), and executed in 1950. Christie went on to murder his own wife and three prostitutes at the house before his crimes were detected. He was hanged in 1953.

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The film relies on the same argument advanced by Kennedy in his book that Evans was innocent of the murders and was framed by Christie. That argument had been accepted by the Crown, when Evans was officially pardoned by Home Secretary Roy Jenkins in 1966.

The case is one of the first major miscarriages of justice known to have occurred in the immediate post-war period and had an influence on MPs when the death penalty was abolished in 1965.

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10 rillington dvd

Buy: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

Review of Blu-ray:

New UK imprint Indicator has been appropriating many titles from esteemed US label Twilight Time (a godsend for European collectors looking to budget funds in these financially tight times). Boasting a luscious 4K transfer (with really deep blacks), Fleischer’s relentlessly grim account of notorious serial killer John Reginald Christie (played to icy perfection by an off radar Richard Attenborough) still packs an unsettling wallop 37 years after its initial release.

This scared the bejesus out of me when aired on ITV as a young kid (that haunting John Dankworth scored credit sequence still sends a shudder down the spine) whilst John Hurt is on wayward form as wrongly accused tell tale Timothy Evans. Check the nail biting audacious murder set piece of Evan’s pregnant wife Beryl (Judy Geeson) – it truly disturbs.

Jon Casbard, Horrorpedia

Other reviews:

“It’s never overly violent, conventionally frightening or aggressive in tone, and yet 10 Rillington Place succeeds in being genuinely disturbing and utterly compelling. The performances are top-notch and the film is superbly paced to take the story for all it’s worth, without unnecessary elaboration. Attenborough is nothing short of phenomenal in the main role, managing to appear both threatening and harmless at the same time.” Gary W Tooze, DVD Beaver

“The movie belongs to Richard Attenborough, his portrait of Christie is one of the creepiest things ever to crawl onto the screen, subtly terrifying even when performing such innocuous tasks as brewing a pot of tea.” Britmovie

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Wikipedia | IMDb | Stuart Freeborn | Related: Peeping Tom

Posted by Will Holland

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Categories: 1970s, British, Horrorpedia review, insanity, maniac, psychopath, serial killer, true crime

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