Friday, September 6, 2013

Libel (1959)


I am not really for remaking films. Sometimes the remakes come out terrible and everyone associated with the film winds up looking like a jerk. The only time I would ever consider remaking a classic film is if the film started off good and the ending just went to total garbage because the Production Code negated it had to end nicely. Libel is one of only a few classic films I would want to remake because of the ending.
            Jeffery Buckenham is a Canadian commercial pilot. He is in a pub in England when he sees something on the TV. It is a man and wife showing a TV crew their ancestral English country manor. The man on TV is Sir Mark Sebastian Loddon (Dirk Bogard) and his wife Lad Margaret (Olivia de Havilland). Loddon, being interviewed, says that he was a prisoner of war at Dunkirk and escaped. In the dining room he has trouble remembering his twenty-first birthday party when the interviewer asked him about it. Watching the program Jeffery knows that the Mark Loddon on screen is not the Mark Loddon he knew during the War. The man is an impostor probably a man named Frank Welney.
            The next day Jeffery goes to the Loddon estate pretending to be someone on a tour of the manor. Jeffery sees Loddon and confronts him as Frank Welney. He knows the man is Welney because of his hand. He tells the man that he knows what happened to the real Mark. Jeffery is escorted out of the house. He decides to go to Mark’s cousin to tell him what he suspects. The cousin says that Mark was never the same after the War. Jeffery wants the cousin’s paper to expose everything. The cousin says there will be trouble but that is exactly what Jeffery wants. The paper hates Mark.
            The story makes it to the papers and there is a frenzy. Mark denies the story nothing of it is true. Margaret thinks he should go to court and sue for libel. He does not want his life all over the papers. As the case draws out in court several loyalties are tested along with everything they all think they know. 
            The whole court aspect is a wreck and the ending is a total load of crap. I was so mad with the ending I do not even want to write anymore about the film. And besides I do not want to give everything away, I am sure there will be some who have not seen it and might like it. 
            Libel has a great storyline. You really do not know who to believe and who your sympathies are for. The suspense and your hopes build and build and then are completely let down. I felt like my time had been wasted I though the ending was so unsatisfactory. The cast was good. I only sat through this because of Olivia de Havilland and truthfully I never would have sat through a film called Libel if it had not been for her or any other actress I like. I will suggest seeing Libel it was not a bad film as I said the storyline was great it was the ending that just blew it for me. I am sure me and my craziness are in the minority on the ending.