Sunday, May 3, 2020
The Orchard End Murder (1981)
Charthurst Green, Kent, 1966. Pauline Cox accompanies Mike Robins to a village cricket match in which he is playing, but becomes bored and wanders away. She fetches up at the local railway halt, where she is first entertained to tea by the garrulous, hunchbacked station keeper, then upset by the intrusion of the latter's assistant Ewen, who proceeds to kill a rabbit in her presence. Making her way back to the match, Pauline is waylaid by the simple-minded Ewen as she crosses an apple orchard; when his advances become violent, she tries to fight him off and he strangles her. That evening, the hunchback discovers Ewen with Pauline's body in the shack where he lives, and helps him to bury the corpse in the orchard. Later, however, Ewen inadvertently betrays himself: the body is disinterred by the police and Ewen breaks down hysterically. Years later, the hunchback, who has disavowed Ewen, encourages the friendship of another village youth. Peter Jessop's carefully textured camera work ...