Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Eyes of Annie Jones

20th Century-Fox distributed several little British movies in the 1960s along with the cheap Maury Dexter-type stuff that I've mentioned on several occasions in the past. One of these British movies is The Eyes of Annie Jones, which FXM Retro will be airing tomorrow at 3:30 AM -- and then again at 12:30 PM tomorrow and 3:00 AM Thursday.

Geraldine Wheeler (Jean Lodge) is a British woman who's getting ready to leave on a holiday in Spain, the 1960s being a time when travel to the Continent was a much bigger deal than it is today now that it's so cheap. However, she gets in an argument with the cab driver taking her to the train station, and he kills her and buries her body out back!

Aunt Helen (Joyce Carey) suspects something's up, since she never hears from Geraldine in Spain and her luggage is nowhere to be found. So she gets in touch with Geraldine's brother David (Richard Conte of all people!) who manages the factory that Geraldine owns, and David's wife. David points out that he's an obvious suspect in a disappearance if in fact there was a crime committed, since he doesn't actually own the factory but stands to inherit it if Geraldine should die.

Aunt Helen decides that since the police can't solve the crime, she's going to bring in an orphan psychic Annie Jones (Francesca Annis) from the local orphanage. Annie is for her part happy just to get out of that hellhole. She uses her "psychic" powers to find things, and always gets suspected of having taken them in the first place. Annie, however, never exactly says that you'll find the missing object here; instead, she speaks in the sort of verse that would have given Carey Wilson a field day in those horrendous MGM Nostradamus shorts from 20 years earlier. And then she "finds" one of David's cuff-links.

Meanwhile, the police really are making progress, in that the cabby has some money that he can't explain how he came into. He wants more money, however, and that's going to involve the person who paid him to commit the murder....

The Eyes of Annie Jones is an interesting enough premise, but it doesn't really deliver. The movie is slow, slow, slow, even though it's short at 73 minutes. Conte is a ludicrous presence in the plot, and his American accent is explained by his having been sent to the States as a child because of the Blitz. Well, why wouldn't Geraldine have been sent too? And Richard Conte was born in 1910, which would have made him 30 by the time the Blitz began.

The Eyes of Annie Jones is, as far as I know, not available on DVD, so you're going to have to catch it while FXM has it in its rotation.

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