Cinema: Northern Gothic

YOU'LL LIKE MY MOTHER

Directed by LAMONT JOHNSON

Screenplay by JO HEIMS

Snow just won't let up. Car won't start either. Doorknobs turn mysteriously. Stairs squeak like trampled mice. The cocoa is spiked. The room is locked. The baby is born dead. No escape.

Such trappings of the Gothic genre creak as badly by this time as the front door of the requisite sinister mansion. Director Johnson does not precisely succeed in making all these antique devices seem fresh—that would be asking too much of anyone—but he contrives to invest each scene with an effectively clammy inevitability.

A pregnant young widow (Patty Duke) spends...

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