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Tam Lin Aka the Devil's Widow

16 customer reviews

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(Sep 24, 2013)
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Editorial Reviews

They called her the Devil's Widow she drained them of their manhood and then of their lives! Legendary Hollywood goddess, Ava Gardner (One Touch of Venus) delivers a mesmerizing performance in director Roddy McDowall's wickedly suspenseful tale of decadent young thrill-seekers and the sinister seductress who holds them spellbound. Amid the dawn-to-dusk revelry at the fabulous country estate of wealthy and sophisticated Mrs. Cazaret (Gardner), the impulsive Tom Lynn (Ian McShane, TV's Deadwood) discovers that being the life of this party could have murderous consequences. The top-notch cast includes Stephanie Beacham (TV's The Colbys, Dynasty), Cyril Cusack (Fahrenheit 451), Richard Wattis (The Importance of Being Ernest) and Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous). Acting great Roddy McDowall's one and only directorial effort. Beautifully shot in scope by Billy Williams (Gandhi).

Product Details

  • Actors: Ava Gardner, Ian McShane, Stephanie Beacham, Cyril Cusack, Richard Wattis
  • Directors: Roddy McDowall
  • Writers: William Spier
  • Producers: Alan Ladd Jr.
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen, Anamorphic
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 24, 2013
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00E21D8M0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,257 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Chip Kaufmann on December 18, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Roddy McDowall's only directorial effort,THE BALLAD OF TAM LIN, is one of the most misunderstood films of its time. Based on a ballad by Robert Burns, the story was updated to then contemporary 1970. The original story tells of a medieval knight who is seduced and held captive by a witch before being saved from her power by the love of a maiden. McDowall and screenwriter William Speier transform the witch into a fabulously wealthy older woman (Ava Gardner still looking great at 48) and the knight into a contemporary young man (Ian McShane in an early role) distracted from life by easy pleasures. He's happy to be the head boy toy amongst her minions of fashionable young people (which include Joanna Lumley, Madeline Smith, and future director Bruce Robinson) until he meets the local Vicar's daughter (Stephanie Beacham at her loveliest) and then he's in a quandry. Ava doesn't take kindly to competition and plots his demise, just as she has done with several boy toys before him. However, like the others, he'll be given a slight chance to survive although so far, no one has.

The misunderstanding arises from the fact that AIP (American International Pictures) promoted it as a horror film rather than as a poetic romance even reediting the film and retitiling it THE DEVIL'S WIDOW to try and achieve this effect. As a result, no one was happy, and the film sank witout a trace although I managed to catch it on a double bill with the Timothy Dalton version of WUTHERING HEIGHTS. I didn't understand it at the time but I was able to pick up on the romance angle and it was close to being the loveliest film I had ever seen. Seeing it now, uncut, in McDowall's original version is a true delight.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William Amazzini on October 8, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Olive Films continues to unearth rare films from the Paramount archives and here we have actor Roddy McDowell's only directorial effort 'TAM LIN' aka 'THE BALLAD OF TAM LIN' aka 'THE DEVIL'S WIDOW'-1970, a film which had the reputation of being a Horror film but instead emerges as a tragic tale of love and revenge. McDowell along with screenwriter William Spier have taken the ancient Scottish folk tale adapted by poet Robert Burns , sung by folk artists such as 'SANDY DENNY AND FAIRPORT CONVENTION' ,'PENTANGLE ' of which their version is included throughout this film, and 'JUNE TABOR' among others and given it a Seventies reawakening. Ageless actress Ava Gardner is excellent as Michaela Cazaret, a millionairess who hovers Charles Manson-like over her brood of teenage runaways in her Carter Hall mansion in Scotland. When her boy toy Tom Lin played by a young Ian McShane falls in love with his outsider soul mate brilliantly played by Stephanie Beacham, the spell is broken and she vows to have him killed in a chilling take on Director Ernest B. Schoedsack's classic 'THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME'-1932. Gardner predates actress Delphine Seyrig's performance of Countess Elizabeth Bathory in Director Harry Kumel's excellent 'DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS' aka 'LES LEVRES ROUGE'-1971 as she whispers her lines with a sinister twinge. Genre fans will spot Hammer actresses Jenny Hanley and Madeline Smith and also future 'NEW AVENGERS/ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS' star Joanna Lumley in nice cameos. Other excellent characters are veteran actor Cyril Cusack as Beacham's vicar father and British comic Richard Wattis playing against type as Gardner's sinister private secretary.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By V. Risoli on October 12, 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Actor Roddy McDowall's only directorial effort, 1970's "Tam Lin" was an AIP release and later on VHS from Republic. Mentioned repeatedly in the same respect as Charles Laughton's only directorial effort, "Night of the Hunter" which also is an artistic rendering of kind of folklore. McDowall, who around this time starred in the degradations of the British horror picture, "It" and AIP's "Angel, Angel, Down We Go" (AKA: "Cult of the Damned") and has never given the likes of the powerhouse performances Laughton gave. But "Tam Lin" (AKA: "The Devil's Widow") is very good despite the critical panning the film received upon release which caused it to barely receive a distributing. It never stopped AIP before, but I am not familiar with its initial release. I'd been looking for its release on DVD for some time since reading a recent gothic novel of the Scottish folktale and poem upon which the original screenplay by William Spier is based. Ava Gardner is chillingly cast as the evil "Queen of the fairies" and Ian McShane (who starred opposite Oliver Reed in "Sitting Target" that same year and was also the lead opposite Hayley Mills in her father, John Mills' only directorial effort, "Sky West and Crooked" (AKA: "Gypsy Girl") is cast as the hero of the fable. Again, he is very appealing. Stephanie Beacham is cast winningly as the good girl. She has been known for some unusual roles in Hammer's "Dracula A.D. 1972" and "Superbitch." Besides, McDowall's skill with actors and involvement with rather dated jet set mileau of the early seventies, he artfully and very colorfully directs with striking cinematography by Billy Williams and music by Stanley Myers and a number of songs by Pentangle. It is a very good adaption of the Robert Burns poem and a rather literal version of the Tam Lin story despite the modern take. The film is presented here by Olive Films in a very good and deserving Blu-ray with no extras. They also manufacture a DVD version.
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