The Orchard End Murder (1981)

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The Orchard End Murder: Directed by Christian Marnham. With Bill Wallis, Tracy Hyde, Clive Mantle, Raymond Adamson. Charthurst Green, Kent, 1966. Pauline Cox accompanies Mike Robins to a village cricket match in which he is playing, but becomes bored and wanders away. She fetches up at the local railway halt, where she is first entertained to tea by the garrulous, hunchbacked station keeper, then upset by the intrusion of the latter’s assistant Ewen, who proceeds to kill a rabbit in her presence. Making her way back to the match, Pauline is waylaid by the simple-minded Ewen as she crosses an apple orchard; when his advances become violent, she tries to fight him off and he strangles her. That evening, the hunchback discovers Ewen with Pauline’s body in the shack where he lives, and helps him to bury the corpse in the orchard. Later, however, Ewen inadvertently betrays himself: the body is disinterred by the police and Ewen breaks down hysterically. Years later, the hunchback, who has disavowed Ewen, encourages the friendship of another village youth. Peter Jessop’s carefully textured camera work initially lends this mini-feature an edge of the picturesquely sinister. But the resolution of the anecdote is rather forced and anti-climactic, and some of the details (like the police searching the orchard at the dead of night) ring distractingly false. All the same, it represents a debut of some promise.

“If you can track this down itu0026#39;s worth a watch. A young couple take a trip to the country for a cricket match heu0026#39;s playing in. She goes off exploring during the match and meets a peculiar character who invites her in for a cup of tea. Lesson learned – always be suspicious of a man who collects gnomes. Itu0026#39;s quite well made. The acting is okay. Plenty of laughs – some intentional and some not – and the scene in which the murder victim is buried in a huge pile of rotting apples is really striking. Thereu0026#39;s another scene in which a body is discovered in a shallow grave with just the bum sticking out of the ground which is hilarious.”


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