Maria Marten, or The Murder in the Red Barn

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Maria Marten, or The Murder in the Red Barn
Directed byMilton Rosmer
Written byRandall Faye (writer)
Produced byGeorge King (producer)
StarringTod Slaughter
CinematographyGeorge Stretton
Edited byCharles Saunders
Music byLeo T. Croke
Release date
  • 16 August 1936 (1936-08-16)
Running time
69 minutes
58 minutes (Ontario, Canada)
CountryUnited Kingdom

Maria Marten, or The Murder in the Red Barn is a 1935 British film melodrama film starring Tod Slaughter and Eric Portman. It was directed by Milton Rosmer. It is based on the true story of the 1827 Red Barn Murder where a 25 year old mother is shot dead by her lover (Squire William Corder) and her stepmother claims to have dreamt of the murder the night of the event, before the young woman's body was discovered. The film is also known as Murder in the Red Barn (short UK title).

The film is based on the popular 19th-century melodramas about the case and is highly theatrical, with an opening in which all the characters are introduced by a Master of Ceremonies in front of a painted backdrop, but is also slightly more lavishly produced and cinematically inventive than the later films directed by Tod Slaughter's producer George King. Slaughter gives a full-throated over-the-top performance in a calculatedly melodramatic style, encouraging the audience to vicariously share in his villainy; this approach became his trademark and gives his films a cult status of their own peculiar kind.


William Corder seduces then murders innocent country maiden Maria Marten in the red barn before burying her body beneath the barn floor. She gets murdered because she becomes pregnant and too annoying for William. Her gypsy lover Carlos is hunted down as a suspect, but brings Corder to justice.


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