THE LEGACY OF MAGGIE WALSH
The Legacy only regurgitates the cliches of both The Omen and the haunted house genre in a story that has some of the greatest internal logic and credibility threshold problems of any included on this site. While Jimmy Sangster has demonstrated considerable class as a screenwriter elsewhere, his work here is shoddy there is, for instance, little explained about the Satanic pact or Katharine Rosss being the apparent reincarnation of one of Mountolives ancestors other than the minimum necessary to set up a series of novelty killings in an old mansion. We are not even sure why the various Satanic acolytes are being killed off.
What almost elevates The Legacy is Richard Marquands clean, elegant handling and the surprisingly classy photography. Shots come reflected off piano lids or the gleaming polish of a Rolls Royce as it glides through the countryside, white cats sit on marble staircases, blood drips from a white plastered roof into a wineglass. The interiors are dressed with a plush luxuriance. Marquand generates a perpetual brooding atmosphere with people lurking in the background, eavesdropping from balconies. Alas, all of this contrasts against times when the film is so silly as to defy all credulity like Roger Daltreys totally overacted death by phantom chicken-bone; or Charles Grays silly-accented performance, which is like a bad impression of a drag queen, and his dispatch being torched from giant jets of flame out of a fireplace.
Director Richard Marquand went onto make the worthwhile WWII spy thriller Eye of the Needle (1981) and was then chosen to helm the third Star Wars film Return of the Jedi (1983). He followed this with the courtroom psycho-thriller Jagged Edge (1985). His career was ended in 1987 when he died of a heart attack aged only 49.