So Evil My Love (1948) Kino Studio Classics 2/9/2021
Directed By: Lewis Allen
Starring: Ray Milland, Ann Todd, Leo G. Carroll, Geraldine Fitzgerald
So Evil My Love (1948) is loosely based on a true crime involving the mysterious death of a bannister, and adapted from the novel For Her to See by Marjorie Bowen. In a chance meeting Olivia Harwood (Ann Todd) nurses back to health Mark Bell (Ray Milland). It turns out that Mark is a rogue-scheming man that uses people, especially women for his own ends. Olivia having fallen for Bell spirals into blackmail and murder in this '40's era thriller. Part Noir, Part Gaslight Gothic, this movie is an incredibly well crafted. I will say from the outset, So Evil, My Love is a movie that demands and also greatly rewards audience attention. This is because Lewis Allen (best known for the amazing '44 film The Uninvited) layers the movie with clever foreshadowing, bitter irony and little details that make the movie worth repeat viewings. I'm also a sucker for Victorian setting's that are the back-drop of intrigue. And while yes, Allen gives us the typical twists-and-turns So Evil is a pretty interesting character study, not only with Milland's Mark Bell but also Olivia. This attention to Olivia and how she not only gets tangled in Marks scheme but weaves her very own, is actually really refreshing in films of this ilk. Ray Milland in my opinion is at his very best when he's playing villain's such as his part for Hitchcock's Dial M For Murder (1954). Even though Milland is such a heel in this movie, he still retains his charms. This makes it believable he would have this kind of devilish spell over woman. Ann Todd certainly holds her own. As I mentioned she is richly written and given a lot of agency in the plot. Todd really shows a great deal of range and is every bit of Milland's equal. And, the two really play off one another beautifully. The movie is not without it's issues and, there is no doubt that the movie could easily have been given a trim down. Though, I will counter that the slow burn makes certain twist reveals more impactful. If you love drawing room/Gas light murder mysteries I would give this a watch. It's a refreshingly provoctative outing that should be talked about more.
Picture: So Evil My Love comes in a brand-new 2k transfer. The film has a sharp clarity and, the black and white photography color wise is well balanced and maintained throughout. I will say as good as the transfer look it does have some artifacts and some rough paces in terms of scratches etc. As Kino typically is stellar in their transfers I chock this up to poor original elements. Overall, you can tell the movie certainly looks much better in HD. It's not perfect but it certainly does the trick nonetheless.
Sound: So Evil features a well handled 2.0 track. Dialogue comes through nicely and there are very little in the way of background hiss or distortion.
Extras: So Evil My Love features a stellar commentary with historian Imogen Sara Smith. Smith is incredibly informed and engaging. A really worth while commentary. Also includes a trailer.