Before the opening credits, we see a man grasping something in the pocket of another man’s overcoat. The man is a pickpocket.Now we are in the room where a jury are considering their verdict in a murder trial; capital punishment is the probable outcome if they find the accused guilty. An outspoken man insists that the accused must be guilty; he went to pawn jewellery belonging to a woman who had just been murdered. In the courtroom, a young woman (Margaret) and a man (Charles) are seated, waiting for the jury to return.Charles excuses himself and goes out, and uses the police telephone. He is a journalist, and evidently on good terms with the police. The phone call establishes that he lost a bet on a horse race, and he returns to the courtroom. Two policemen talk; one says that Charles is the son of the judge hearing the case. He is ex-RAF and has several decorations; now he is a crime reporter on one of the evening papers.The jury return to the courtroom, and the accused is brought up. The jury’s verdict is “guilty”. The judge asks the accused if he has anything to say. He takes advantage of the opportunity to say that he is against killing, especially judicial killing, and he is going to summon foreman of the jury, the prosecuting counsel and the judge, as well as whoever actually committed the murder to a higher court: the “assize of the dying”.
The judge sentences him to death. There is a frenzied scene in the press room where journalists are anxious to phone through a report to their newspapers. Charles phones through and asks a colleague to find out what the assize of the dying is.In the next scene Margaret is in a café where she has a cup of tea; another man, Mark, sits at the same table, and recognising him from the courtroom, Margaret says she doesn’t think the accused was guilty. They introduce one another and as her surname is Manton, she explains that she is related to the trial judge; he is her “guardian”, actually her uncle. Mark discloses that he is the half-brother of the deceased woman, Zoe Trevor.
Mark seems to know about the assize of the dying; it is a Spanish curse, “from the 15th century mostly”. Mark explains who it originated; all the people cursed had to die. While this conversation is going on, a man is reading a newspaper at the same table, holding the newspaper up before his face.
Later everyone is going home; we see a man who had been reading a newspaper at the table where Margaret and Mark had been seated during their conversation. He is the foreman of the jury. He leaves, apparently picking up a tip from the table that someone else had left for the waitress. We now see that he is in the bus queue where Margaret is also waiting; Mark is with her. The man suddenly decides to get a newspaper and goes into the road, and is run down by a car.Mark takes Margaret to her home in a taxi; the judge is there and we hear that Charles’s movements are unpredictable; he seems to be a “lodger” in the home. Margaret tells the judge about the accident, and he says he knew a little about the assize of the dying, but he doesn’t talk about cases that come before him.The phone rings and it is Charles, phoning from Fleet Street. He tells her that the accused man was dead when he got back to Wandsworth prison.Sir Robert Wyvern was the prosecuting counsel; he answers the telephone, and simply replies “No comment” and leaves the receiver off the hook.In the morning, the judge is up and intercepts his maid, who is on the way to Margaret’s room with breakfast. Charles is in the bathroom getting dressed in a dressing gown and matching cravat. He goes into Margaret’s room and kisses her on the forehead.They talk about the case, and Charles says he will go with Margaret, when she says that she is going to find out more about the murder case with Mark. They drive to Mark’s place and meet up at the flat where the deceased women lived. Mark has the key and they go in. We notice that the flat opposite is marked G B Stevenson, evidently the name of the man found guilty of her murder.Mark suggests re-enacting the crime and they play-act what took place. Stevenson came into her flat and asked for a loan of money; he needed a hundred pounds urgently, but Zoe said she hadn’t got any money, in the bank or in cash. She gave him some jewellery to pawn, however.Now we flashback to a pawn shop; the proprietor is saying to the police that he can’t remember a particular person who came in.
The re-enactment continues, and they speculate that an artist, Frank Porter, knew her; also they discover that one of Sir Robert Wyvern’s books is in the flat. We are now in Wyvern’s flat and he agrees on the telephone to dine with Manton, the judge.Margaret and Mark go to see the artist, Porter; he is cold and dismissive. He shows them some pictures of her, but they are not representational at all, until he eventually finds one that is a likeness. It is ten years old, and Margaret notices the dress; Porter says that she was wearing the same dress when she was found, and Margaret speculates that she might have put it on for some special purpose.
Margaret and her uncle are having dinner when the maid enters to say that Mr Brett (Mark) is on the telephone. He tells her that the police have just been, to give him a brooch that belonged to Zoe. The police can’t get information from the pawnbroker as to who pawned the brooch, but Margaret and Mark agree to go to see him themselves.We see them arrive by taxi the next day; Mark asks the taxi driver to wait for them. The pawnbroker’s premises are extremely large, judging by the extensive shop front, labelled F J Newman. On the corner opposite a man is watching; we see that the street opposite is Balcombe Street, NW1. Inside Mark calls the pawnbroker Mr Fredericks. Fredericks says he knows nothing about the brooch, but when Mark offers a large sum of money for information, Fredericks takes them into a back room. Fredericks takes some money and refers them to another man called Jody; he gives them an address in Islington.They go there and Jody says he has been expecting them. Jody was the man at the café near the court. Brett asks him how he came by the brooch, and becomes very threatening. Jody admits me got the brooch and an earring by picking someone’s pocket, but he didn’t get a good look at the other man, but he is sure it wasn’t Stevenson (the supposed murderer). Brett threatens him with violence, and with the police; he tells him where he is staying and gives him a week to tell him who he stole the jewellery from.Outside Margaret makes it plain she is unhappy with Mark’s methods: she felt sorry for Jody. Back home we see that Charles is rushing away; there is an important murder case in Newcastle that he has to go and report on. Mark phones Margaret and obliquely apologises, but she can’t see him for a couple of days. Pensive afterwards, she writes the word Speedwell on a pad. Speedwell was the name of a play that the dead woman had been in.The next day the maid brings in the newspapers, and apparently Margaret has put personal advertisements in the papers, proposing to “Speedwell” that an early meeting is desirable. An item on the front page of one of them tells us that the Trevor Brooch has been discovered, and a man has been questioned.That evening Sir Robert Wyvern, the prosecuting counsel, arrives for dinner as arranged previously. Margaret receives him and gives him a drink. Her uncle comes in and she leaves the room; the two men talk a little about the case and Wyvern mentions the advertisement, which he has seen, and reveals that he gave the dead woman some earrings some years ago; they were evidently intimate. The earrings were designed as speedwells.Now Jody is telephoning Mark. The police have visited him and let him go. He reminds Mark that he has still got “it” … the earring, we presume.
The next morning the maid takes Margaret breakfast in bed; she gives her several newspapers, and Margaret finds that Speedwell has responded; they will meet at a churchyard at 11 pm tonight. Margaret rushes to the telephone, and rings Mark’s hotel, but he isn’t there.
Evidently she will have to go to see Speedwell on her own, and that night we see her in a gloomy churchyard. A man wearing a dark overcoat watching, and she looks round anxiously. A man in a light coloured trenchcoat then tries to grab her – it is Mark Brett. She runs away but he catches up with her, and explains that he saw the small advertisement and went along, having had the same idea as well. She didn’t suspect that he was Speedwell, surely?She hesitates and says no, she didn’t and they kiss. Margaret’s uncle was watching in the churchyard too, and he catches up with them, but sees them kissing and smiles, and discreetly goes away. In fact he goes back to the churchyard, just as a man goes in; the man sits on the porch, and another man approaches just as 11 is being struck by the church clock. The man goes to the porch and the man already there says “Speedwell, I presume?” The other man draws a pistol and shoots him, and runs off. Margaret’s uncle runs over to the man who has been shot, and recognises him as Sir Robert Wyvern.Margaret’s uncle now walks slowly home, and goes to Charles’s room; he is in bed (even though we didn’t expect him back until the next day). Charles is in bed and asks hi father to leave him alone. His father sees Charles’s trenchcoat and feels the pockets and finds a pistol. Charles evidently didn’t hear the trenchcoat being handled, but his father pulls the bedclothes off him to reveal that Charles is full dressed.While the men are debating what to do next, Margaret and Mark arrive back. They are going out to a nightclub. Her uncle goes downstairs and talks to Mark, making awkward small talk. Margaret is ready, and she and Mark go out. Charles now comes down; he tells his father that he has wiped off the fingerprints from the pistol. He produces the earring, the other half that “Wyvern wanted”.He says he knew Zoe Trevor, and that she was very generous. He reproaches his father about money. Charles reveals that he has secretly married Zoe Trevor in 1944. At Zoe’s flat she became insistent and he killed her. Charles tries to persuade his father to co-operate in concealing his actions. The father starts to dial 999 and Charles takes the pistol and shoots him dead. The Spaniard’s curse has been fulfilled.Hannah the maid now comes in; Charles tells her to go to bed. Charles rings the night editor at his newspaper, and tells him that he has a big scoop; he is to send his best man to the church to find Wyvern’s body in the porch; and that the Zoe Trevor mystery is solved.The next day we see a newspaper placard; Zoe Trevor Mystery Solved: Judge’s Son Confesses. Jody passes by and takes some coppers that people have left for newspapers, and leaves one of the earrings.

Tech specs – Reviews

Title: The Spaniard’s Curse
Duration: 1 hr 14 min
Aspect Ratio: 988*720
Frames: 24 fps
Audio: English 2.0
Size: 684.08 MB
IMDb Rating


Top cast

Michael Hordern as Mr. Justice Manton


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