TV Cream

Films: T is for...

10 Rillington Place

Adapted from Ludovic Kennedy’s splendid book and featuring Sir Lord Richard of Attenborough’s best performance. The true story of a man – played by John Hurt – wrongly accused of murdering his wife and his landlord John Christie, portrayed by Attenborough with blood curdling coolness – who actually did, this is another film that has the ability to both horrify the viewer and make them seethe with fury over the official injustice of it all (cf The Hill). We often find this sort of film far more terrifying than what is usually thought of as horror simply because it is all so real and because we know, of course, that it is all true. Hurt’s character is – and was – executed and it was many years before Christie’s guilt became known. Hurt is superb, conveying the simple-mindedness of his subject brilliantly and his wide-eyed exasperation at what is happening to him is heartbreaking but Attenborough is the dead centre of the film, so chilling that you can’t take your eyes off him, as much as you want to.

Click to comment

0 Comments

  1. Richard Davies

    August 8, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Look out for a cameo by Rudolf Walker as Beresford Brown, the tennent who took on Christie’s flat & found more than he expected in the understairs cupboard.

  2. Clio

    August 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Attenborough Masterclass. Simply mesmerising.

  3. James Murray

    December 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    People should be very wary of quoting Evans as a classic example of misjustice.

    Firstly, a forgotten or usually misquoted fact about Evans is that the Brabin Inquiry report found that Evans’ had ‘probably killed his wife’ and that he had not killed his daughter. As Evans had been convicted of his daughter Geraldine’s murder, and not the murder of his wife, Evans was granted a posthumous pardon in 1966.

    Secondly, I very strongly recommend reading ‘The Two Killers of Rillington Place’ by John Eddowes released in 1994 (or Rupert Furneaux’s 1961 book on the Christie-Evans case). Preferably both, cross referenced with Kennedy’s book.

    Both found/find Evans guilty.

    Like most, I grew up watching this film, and read Ludovic Kennedy’s famous book on which the film script was based. And like many thought Evans an innocent man. Until 1995. And Eddowes book.

    BUT having read Eddowes book and having then re-read Kennedy’s as well as Furneaux’s and other articles on the case, I now and have for several years believed that in fact Evans DID commit murder and was NOT ‘framed’.

    I have even conversed personally with John Eddowes by email on this.

    Eddowes frankly destroys Kennedy’s book and in fact has an entire ‘bullet point’ chapter simply made up of all the mistakes, half truths and outright distortions of his ‘evidence’. Not only did Eddowes study the Kennedy book and the pardon campaign in the 60’s, he reinvestigates the case from top to bottom.

    And Eddowes uncovered evidence that shows Christie could not have killed Beryl Evans and that Evans, far from being the simpleton portrayed by Hurt, was of normal intelligence and had a police record of domestic assault against Beryl Evans. And that he DID kill both his wife and daughter. And that Evans’s legendary low IQ is quite simply a myth.

    Eddowes also interviewed Timothy Evans’s stepbrother (not sure whether he is still alive, he was in 1994-95 at the time of the Eddowes book) who always thought Evans did it. In fact he tells Eddowes this!. ‘I must be the only person who thinks Tim did it’, or words to that effect….

    Which dosent make Christie any less of a monster, as he killed numerous others…..

    Most British people believe Evans an innocent man. Primarily based on a film. Like me, after reading Eddowes and Furneaux, I doubt many would confidently share their earlier views with little doubt….at the very least, it should make anyone who reads it at least question the modern belief that Evans was an innocent victim.

    I recommend the two books if anyone here comes across them. Fascinating reads.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

"Brian's Binatone is great for his cassettes!"

To Top