Blood and Lace (1971)

GP | 86-87 mins | Horror | March 1971

Director:

Philip Gilbert

Writer:

Gil Lasky

Producers:

Ed Carlin, Gil Lasky

Cinematographer:

Paul Hipp

Production Designer:

Lee Fischer

Production Companies:

Contemporary Filmakers, Carlin Company
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HISTORY

Although onscreen credits include a copyright statement for Contemporary Filmakers, Carlin Company Productions, the film was not registered at the time of its release. However, Contemporary Filmakers and the Carlin Company registered the film for copyright on 18 May 1978, at which time it was assigned the number PA-26-271. Blood and Lace marked the return of Oscar-winning actress Gloria Grahame to the screen in her first feature since Ride with Vengeance (1966, see below). Although her early work in the 1940s and 1950s had garnered much praise, Grahame had appeared primarily on television in the 1960s. Grahame continued to act, mostly on television and low-budget films, until her death from cancer in 1981. ... More Less

Although onscreen credits include a copyright statement for Contemporary Filmakers, Carlin Company Productions, the film was not registered at the time of its release. However, Contemporary Filmakers and the Carlin Company registered the film for copyright on 18 May 1978, at which time it was assigned the number PA-26-271. Blood and Lace marked the return of Oscar-winning actress Gloria Grahame to the screen in her first feature since Ride with Vengeance (1966, see below). Although her early work in the 1940s and 1950s had garnered much praise, Grahame had appeared primarily on television in the 1960s. Grahame continued to act, mostly on television and low-budget films, until her death from cancer in 1981. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 Apr 1971.
---
Daily Variety
15 Mar 1971.
---
Filmfacts
1971
pp. 47-48.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 1971.
---
New York Daily News
18 Mar 1971.
---
New York Times
18 Mar 1971
p. 48.
Variety
9 Dec 1970.
---
Variety
17 Mar 1971
p. 18.
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1971
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 17 March 1971
Production Date:
1970
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Movielab
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
86-87
MPAA Rating:
GP
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

One night, after prostitute Edna Masters is bludgeoned to death in her bed, the assailant burns the house, destroying the evidence and killing Edna’s lover as well. Surviving the fire is Edna’s eighteen-year-old daughter Ellie, who is taken to a hospital where social worker Mr. Mullins informs her that without knowing her father’s identity she must be sent to an orphanage. Ellie tersely reminds Mullins that she has been taking care of herself for years since her mother was too busy with countless sexual partners, including Mullins, to care for her. That night, when Ellie tries to run away, policeman Calvin Carruthers returns her to the hospital where he reviews the murder case with Ellie. Reluctant to trust anyone, Ellie only divulges that she dreams that the killer used a hammer, but claims that she did not witness the murder. After Carruthers later finds the hammer at the crime scene, he becomes suspicious of Ellie, realizing that only she knew that the wounds were caused by a hammer. That night at the orphanage, owner Mrs. Deere orders her custodian, Tom Kredge, to kill runaway Ernest, before he can report the home’s horrendous conditions to authorities. Kredge chases the boy into the forest where he chops off his hand, leaving Ernest to bleed to death. Deere, a widow who is having an affair with Mullins, runs the home on a meager allowance generated by government stipends for each child. She and Kredge have killed several children caught escaping and stored the bodies in the basement freezer. When Mullins visits, Kredge takes the bodies to the infirmary and disguises them as ill children, so that Mullins has a consistent head count ... +


One night, after prostitute Edna Masters is bludgeoned to death in her bed, the assailant burns the house, destroying the evidence and killing Edna’s lover as well. Surviving the fire is Edna’s eighteen-year-old daughter Ellie, who is taken to a hospital where social worker Mr. Mullins informs her that without knowing her father’s identity she must be sent to an orphanage. Ellie tersely reminds Mullins that she has been taking care of herself for years since her mother was too busy with countless sexual partners, including Mullins, to care for her. That night, when Ellie tries to run away, policeman Calvin Carruthers returns her to the hospital where he reviews the murder case with Ellie. Reluctant to trust anyone, Ellie only divulges that she dreams that the killer used a hammer, but claims that she did not witness the murder. After Carruthers later finds the hammer at the crime scene, he becomes suspicious of Ellie, realizing that only she knew that the wounds were caused by a hammer. That night at the orphanage, owner Mrs. Deere orders her custodian, Tom Kredge, to kill runaway Ernest, before he can report the home’s horrendous conditions to authorities. Kredge chases the boy into the forest where he chops off his hand, leaving Ernest to bleed to death. Deere, a widow who is having an affair with Mullins, runs the home on a meager allowance generated by government stipends for each child. She and Kredge have killed several children caught escaping and stored the bodies in the basement freezer. When Mullins visits, Kredge takes the bodies to the infirmary and disguises them as ill children, so that Mullins has a consistent head count of the youngsters. The next day, Mullins takes Ellie to the orphanage, where she meets other wards, including young Bunch and handsome Walter Barns, with whom Bunch is enamored. Meanwhile, Deere tells Mullins that she is punishing orphan Jennifer in the attic and offers to take him to see her, but Mullins happily defers to his mistress and then declines viewing the children in the infirmary after learning they have colds. Deere tells him that Ernest has run away, but then asks for sympathy for the boy, claiming that if Mullins reports the missing child he will be sent to reform school. Meanwhile, Ellie tries to talk to the children in the infirmary, but Kredge stops her before she realizes that they are dead. When she mentions the sick children to the others wards over dinner, they swear that there are no other children in the house. The next day, Deere gives Ellie grueling work orders then laments that she was once young and beautiful like Ellie, but when she got older, her husband started sleeping with Edna, Ellie’s mother. While cleaning, Ellie finds a severely dehydrated Jennifer tied up in the attic, but when she gets water for the girl, Kredge threatens Ellie. The next day, when Ellie tells Walter, with whom she has been flirting, that she plans to run away and find out who her father is, he tries to dissuade her, but to no avail. Soon after, Kredge offers to help Ellie escape, but when she meets him in the cellar as planned, he tries to rape her. Deere, who learned of Ellie’s plans from Walter, stops Kredge and tries to fire him, but Kredge then blackmails her for more money to keep quiet about the murders. Later, when Walter apologizes to her for telling Deere, Ellie divulges that her mother complained that the man with whom she lost her virginity ruined her figure by making her pregnant with Ellie. Meanwhile in the cellar, the increasingly insane Deere talks to the corpse of her dead husband, Jameson, about the pressures of running the home. That night, a scar-faced intruder carrying a hammer frightens Ellie, who wakes the others, but they all assume she has only had a nightmare. The next day, Bunch, jealous of Walter and Ellie’s blossoming relationship, fights with Ellie and then seduces Walter into having sex after arranging for Ellie to encounter them in the act. Heartbroken, Ellie vows to run away again. Out of concern, näive Walter tells Ellie’s plans to Deere, who orders Kredge to throw her into the freezer. However, Pete, another young ward, witnesses the scene and then tries to pry the lock off to save Ellie, but to no avail. Soon after, an infuriated Mullins, concerned about losing his job, confronts Deere about police accusations regarding Ernest, whom the authorities realize is missing. Offering to show him the freezer during the subsequent inspection, Deere, with Kredge’s help, kills Mullins with a cleaver and throws him inside when suddenly, the scar-faced intruder attacks Kredge. While the two struggle, Ellie frees herself and tells the other wards to flee from the murderous Deere, but the children, resigned to their fate, claim they have nowhere to go. After the intruder knocks out Kredge and flees, Deere drags Kredge into the freezer, but a vengeful Jennifer kills Deere with a cleaver, leaving her body to freeze as well. Meanwhile, Ellie runs for her life through the forest and stumbles upon Ernest’s dead body. Scared witless, Ellie breaks down when confronted by the scar-faced intruder, whom she assumes is Edna’s last lover, disfigured by the burns he suffered in the fire. Ellie deliriously admits to killing her mother and setting the house on fire, begging for forgiveness. Carruthers then lifts the mask off his face and promises not to tell the authorities if Ellie will be his wife. He then tells her that he was Edna’s first lover, causing Ellie burst into manic laughter at the realization that she will now be married to her father. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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