Newton is a vicious Scottish hatmaker who has become very successful in business. He lives with his wife, Varley, and their daughter, Kerr, in a huge mansion which he calls Hatter's Castle. Varley is ill and fearful of his lightning quick temper, but he shows a softer side to his mistress, Stamp-Taylor, a bar maid at a local pub. Williams is her one-time...read more
Newton is a vicious Scottish hatmaker who has become very successful in business. He lives with his wife, Varley, and their daughter, Kerr, in a huge mansion which he calls Hatter's Castle. Varley is ill and fearful of his lightning quick temper, but he shows a softer side to his
mistress, Stamp-Taylor, a bar maid at a local pub. Williams is her one-time amour, and she prevails on Newton to give the man a job at the hat factory. Williams meets Kerr and thinks he can woo her and thereby gain her vast legacy. However, she is in love with Mason, a doctor in the area. Williams
sees that he must foil that affair, so he tells Newton, who banishes her from Hatter's Castle. She boards the late train to Glasgow, and Williams, insidious as any of the characters he later wrote about (NIGHT MUST FALL, etc.), tells her that, since Newton has gone bankrupt, he will have nothing
to do with her. Kerr jumps off the train which later crashes, killing several people. It is assumed that she is one of them, and that her body has been mangled beyond identification. Varley doesn't have much time to live as she is suffering from terminal cancer. Just before her death, she tells
Mason that she received a letter from Kerr but can't find it. He wonders if this is true or just the ramblings of a dying mother. When Varley dies, Stamp-Taylor decides to end her affair with Newton. He now heaps all of his dreams and desires on the back of his son, Bateman, and hopes the young
lad can win a scholarship. When Bateman is discovered to have cribbed the answers on his exam, he commits suicide, rather than face the confrontation with his father. Newton then begins to understand that he has caused all of his woes, so he sets fire to the mansion and dies among the burning
ruins, next to the body of his late son. Kerr hears about the deaths and comes back to the small town to attend the funerals. The local townspeople refuse to speak to her, but she is reunited with Mason at the village church, and they exit together in the hopes of finding happiness as a couple.
The film offers a flawless cast with superb acting and fine attention to period detail in all the sets and costumes. Fleming is briefly seen as Sir John Latta, and the always-delightful Mallalieu is the clergyman--one of the rare times when Miles Malleson didn't do the part. Though not credited,
we are informed that Paul Merzbach and Rudolph Bernauer also contributed to the script.
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