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The Late Edwina Black

The Late Edwina Black
File:"The Late Edwina Black" (1951).jpg
U.S. poster
Directed by Maurice Elvey
Produced by Ernest Gartside
Written by David Evans
Charles Frank
Starring David Farrar
Geraldine Fitzgerald
Roland Culver
Music by Allan Gray
Cinematography Stephen Dade
Distributed by British Lion Films
Release dates
  • 1951 (1951)
Running time
78 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office £81,703 (UK)[1]

The Late Edwina Black (U.S. The Obsessed) is a 1951 British drama film, directed by Maurice Elvey and starring David Farrar, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Roland Culver.[2] The film is a costume murder mystery set in the Victorian era and was adapted from a stage play by William Dinnie and William Murum.[3]


The domineering Edwina Black has just died, and the general feeling appears to be of relief rather than grief. The local community whispers that her death is a disguised blessing for all concerned, particularly her henpecked widower Gregory (Farrar) and downtrodden personal companion Elizabeth (Fitzgerald). Unknown to anybody, Gregory and Elizabeth have been clandestine lovers for some time, and matters take a serious turn when the local doctor, feeling uneasy about Edwina's sudden and unexpected death, orders an autopsy. The result come back, revealing that Edwina's body is full of arsenic.

Inspector Martin (Culver) determines to get to the bottom of the case and his suspicions obviously fall on Gregory and Elizabeth. In the absence of concrete proof of their guilt, he sets out to trap them, hoping that they will inadvertently implicate themselves. A complicating factor arises when it is discovered that the housekeeper Ellen (Jean Cadell) has been keeping secrets of her own, and also had good reason for wishing Edwina ill. Two travel tickets and a guidebook to Italy are found in Elizabeth's possession. How does she explain that away?

Martin proceeds to drop seemingly innocuous but loaded observations into the ears of the three suspects, hoping to provoke doubts and foster mutual suspicion. This works so well that they are soon apparently falling over themselves to incriminate each other. Martin has to try to untangle the stories to come up with a coherent picture of what actually happened, all the while being aware that he is perhaps being manipulated into barking up entirely the wrong tree.


Critical reception

The New York Times called it "the most stifling and farfetched bore to snake across the Atlantic so far this year" ; [4] the Radio Times called it a "feeble Victorian whodunnit" ; [5] while Noirish wrote, "for much of the time this is all very well handled, and sometimes with some subtlety." [6]


  1. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p495
  2. ^ "The Late Edwina Black". BFI. 
  3. ^ "Late Edwina Blake, The (1951) - Overview -". Turner Classic Movies. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ David Parkinson. "The Late Edwina Black". RadioTimes. 
  6. ^ "Late Edwina Black, The (1952)". Noirish. 

External links