When the torso of a man is discovered, the victim's wife
is pretty much unconcerned. Evelyn Dick tells the police they
were separated. But when his blood is found in a car which
she hired, she is arrested for the killing. A high-profile
court case ensues, during which her character is brought into
disrepute and her own mother's testimony condemns her to hang.
However, a small-time appeals lawyer arrives, and we learn
that from a young age Evelyn was manipulated by her parents
into being a high-class prostitute and bringing money and
expensive gifts back to the household. But she refuses to
blame her parents in court. The lawyer gets her off when he
tells the court that much of the evidence was collected in
a subsequent search, giving any householder the opportunity
to plant that evidence. But just when the future is looking
brighter a gristly discovery is made. The ashes of an infant
are found in a suitcase in the attic, an infant which the
woman claims she gave up for adoption...
after this revelation we learn through flashbacks that she
really did give it up for adoption, but the implication is
that the infant was passed to the woman's mother. She does
nothing to help her own reputation, appearing in court wearing
slitted skirts and bright-red lipstick. The public and media
openly call Evelyn a slut, and later a child-killer. At no
points does she act fearful of her parents, and yet she refuses
to implicate then. It's never made quite clear whether this
is because of love and respect for them, or perhaps a religious
is set in the post-war 1940s. In an attempt to create the
appropriate setting and atmosphere we are subjected to moody
Sam Spade-type saxophone which, quite frankly, is so annoying
it nearly drove me to murder.
the film the accused chain-smokes, blowing thick white clouds
over everybody, as if this is part of her sexuality, rather
than giving cancer to anyone within a half-mile radius.
aside, this is not a bad film; there is simply nothing there
to make it in any way memorable. Far from being a blockbuster,
it could easily disappear into the afternoon schedules of
Channel 5, and with no extras to explore I can't see Torso
attracting the attention of many people.
film is based on the book Torso: The Evelyn Dick Case,
by Marjorie Freeman Campbell. Having witnessed the structure
of the film, it's easy to believe that it's a format much
better suited to the printed page.