An obscure British Noir/Horror hybrid:
DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS (1948)
Directed by Lance Comfort (Devils of Darkness 1965) and based on the play ‘They Walk Alone’ by Max Catto, the film stars Anne Crawford as Bess Stanforth and Siobhan McKenna plays the disturbed Emily Beaudine. Maxwell Reed plays Dan, Barry Morse (Lt. Gerard The Fugative) plays Robert Stanforth, George Thorpe plays Mr Tallent, Honor Blackman as Julie Tallent and Liam Redmond is Father Cocoran.
Emmie is a sensual creature but a quite bewildered young woman who works for Father Cocoran at the church. One day a carnival arrives in the town of Ballyconnen, where she meets Dan a young boxer, who tries to force himself on her under the moonlight. She uses her nails and scratches his face pretty badly.
Father Cocoran sends Emmie away to Yorkshire, where she is cared for by a nice family. But she has repressed her strange desires mixed with longing and repulsion toward men. Much like the hysteria of Catherine Deneuve’s character in Polanski’s Repulsion. The atmosphere is quite gripping and the psycho-sexual anxiety looms over this very obscure little British Noir/Horror odd gem with all sorts of iconography of religious symbolism, Gothic tones with the use of the organ music and the wonderful ‘hysterical woman’ archetype that I so love to write about.
The churches congregation demanding Emmie’s removal from the village as if she were a seductress witch, also goes to the hysteria around women’s sexuality, as Emmie is an ‘object’ of desire for so many around her.