The producers got their money’s worth out of Maurice Denham in British melodrama Blanche Fury. As well as playing the role of Major Fraser, he also dubbed the voice of elderly actor Townsend Whitling, who was playing the part of a butler. “Townsend looked wonderful but proved to be incomprehensible on the soundtrack, so I was asked to dub his voice,” Denham later recalled. “There is one scene between me and him, where I am talking as Major Fraser in my normal voice, then he answers and it’s still me, talking in my ‘old man’s’ voice. Suddenly there is a shout off-camera, ‘Fire!’ – and that’s me as well!” The joys of working on a no-expense-spared British movie!
Using matinee idol Stewart Granger in the role of a villain for a change, Blanche Fury stars Valerie Hobson as Blanche Fuller, a young woman whose decision to take up an invitation from a rich uncle, Simon Fury (Walter Fitzgerald), to be governess to a young girl, Lavinia (Susanne Gibbs), is the catalyst for murder. Although Blanche soon agrees to marry Simon’s widowed son Laurence (Michael Gough, now best known for playing the butler in the Batman franchise), she secretly lusts after the steward of the Fury estate, Philip Thorn (Granger).
In the best tradition of Victorian melodrama, Philip is an illegitimate Fury and believes the estate should be his. When he sees a group of gypsies interrupt the wedding of Blanche and Laurence, Philip devises a scheme that will give him what he wants: the estate and Laurence’s new wife. Initially keen to follow his murderous plan, Blanche starts to have second thoughts when it becomes apparent that Philip also intends to kill Lavinia.
UK / 1948
Director: Marc Allégret
Writer: Audrey Lindop, Cecil McGivern (based on the novel by Joseph Shearing)
Cast: Stewart Granger, Valerie Hobson, Walter Fitzgerald, Michael Gough, Maurice Denham, Sybille Binder