THE GRAVEYARD; SHEBA; THE TERROR OF SHEBA
Persecution was an attempt to do an English variation on What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), one of the more influential psycho-thrillers of the previous decade, which had Bette Davis and Joan Crawford engaged in Grand Guignol melodramatics. It created its own fad of imitators with other actresses beyond their prime lining up to chew the scenery indeed, Hammer had made several of these themselves in the previous decade. Persecution throws Lana Turner into the fray. Turner was a Hollywood star during the 1940s but her career faded after a series of tempestuous marriages and a scandal in which her daughter shot her boyfriend. Here Turner hams it up and she and Ralph Bates, an emerging Anglo-horror regular of the 1970s, have fun playing games with one another.
Don Chaffeys pace is slow moving, despite occasionally inventive photography and some offbeat editing. The story is confusing by the end, one is never sure who Davids real father was. The catty premise is not terribly interesting and the script trades in some unconvincingly histrionic psychology. The one show stealer is the sultry seductive Olga Georges-Picot in the role of the French nurse.
Don Chaffey was a director who made a handful of films during the Anglo-horror cycle, in particular several for Hammers exotica cycle with One Million Years B.C. (1966), The Viking Queen (1967) and Creatures the World Forgot (1971). Elsewhere, Chaffey directed Ray Harryhausens Jason and the Argonauts (1963). In the 1970s, he moved over to work in US television and also made several childrens films with Disneys Petes Dragon (1977) and the Hanna-Barbera film C.H.O.M.P.S. (1979).
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