10 Rillington Place
|10 Rillington Place|
|Directed by||Richard Fleischer|
|Produced by||Basil Appleby
|Screenplay by||Clive Exton|
|Based on||Ten Rillington Place
by Ludovic Kennedy
|Music by||John Dankworth|
|Editing by||Ernest Walter|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release dates||12 May 1971 (USA)|
|Running time||111 min|
Christie strangled at least eight people (including the baby Geraldine Evans), the first two victims being buried in the back garden of the house in 10 Rillington Place during World War II. After Evans moved into the building with his wife Beryl and infant daughter Geraldine in 1949, Christie convinced them that he could help Beryl terminate her unwanted pregnancy; he then raped and strangled Beryl. He told Evans that she had died accidentally, and that Evans should leave town so that people don't realise she's missing. Evans entrusted Christie with his daughter, whom Christie then murdered as well.
Police neglected to search the property thoroughly, they missed the bones of the earlier victims visible in the garden. As a result of false confessions Evans, who was of limited intelligence and illiterate, was tried for their murders (specifically, his daughter), found guilty and executed in 1950. Christie went on to murder his own wife and three prostitutes at the house before his crimes were detected; he may have indulged in necrophilia. He was hanged in July 1953.
The film relies on the same argument advanced by Kennedy in his book that Evans was innocent of the murders and was framed by Christie. That argument was accepted by the Crown, and Evans was officially pardoned by Home Secretary Roy Jenkins in 1966. The case is one of the first major miscarriages of justice known to have occurred in the immediate postwar period.
In 1954, the year after Christie's execution, Rillington Place (in Notting Hill, west London) was renamed Ruston Close, but number 10 continued in multiple occupation. The three families living there in 1970 refused to move out for the shooting of the film, which was therefore set in the empty number 7. Richard Attenborough, who played Christie in the film, spoke of his reluctance to accept the role:
I do not like playing the part, but I accepted it at once without seeing the script. I have never felt so totally involved in any part as this. It is a most devastating statement on capital punishment.
The house and street were demolished later, and the area has changed beyond all recognition.
The production also filmed in Merthyr Vale railway station. Merthyr Vale was Timothy Evans's hometown and also where he confessed to the police. The pub scenes were filmed at the Victoria Hotel, Burdett Road, in east London, after which the pub was demolished as part of the re-development of the area in 1972-73.
In an interview with Robert K. Elderin his book The Best Film You've Never Seen, director Sean Durkinstates that 10 Rillington Place “depicts this story the way that a piece of journalism might, as opposed to worrying about preconceived notions of what a film should achieve.”
- Variety film review; 10 February 1971.
- "Christie's ghost returns" (subscription required), The Times (57872), 18 May 1970: 5, retrieved 18 April 2009.
- Elder, Robert K. The Best Film You've Never Seen: 35 Directors Champion the Forgotten or Critically Savaged Movies They Love. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review, 2013. Print.
- 10 Rillington Place at the Internet Movie Database
- 10 Rillington Place at Rotten Tomatoes