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DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS

Director: LANCE COMFORT

UK • 1948 • BLACK AND WHITE • 91 MINS


DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS WAS BASED ON THEY WALK ALONE, A PLAY BY MAX CATTO: ADAPTING HIS ‘HOMICIDAL NYMPHOMANIAC’ FOR THE SCREEN LED TO CENSORSHIP PROBLEMS AT THE TIME, BUT PROLIFIC DIRECTOR LANCE COMFORT TURNS IN WHAT IS PERHAPS IRELAND’S FIRST SERIAL KILLER FLICK WITH CONSUMMATE PROFESSIONALISM.
As well as being the first film role for pre-Avenger Honor Blackman, it also gave renowned Irish stage actress Siobhan McKenna her first Starring role on the big screen. She plays Emmy Baudine, an angelic young Irish girl who plays the church organ and works as the Priest’s (Liam Redmond) trusted housekeeper in a rural village. Despite these saintly credentials the woman folk of the village find her unsettling while the men find her charm irresistible. Following a savage encounter with a boxer from a visiting fairground who falls for her dangerous charm, Emmy is sent to live with a wealthy family in Yorkshire where her relations with the opposite sex become ever more violent. But no one suspects the extent of what Emma is capable of—a ‘black widow’ who lures men with her sexual charms and then murders them—no one, that is, except the inquisitive daughter of the family she stays with, Bess Stanforth (Anne Crawford), who emerges as the heroine of the piece. This intriguing psychodrama from the Irish Film Archive presents an early instance of that rare villain, the female serial killer.

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