|Trent's Last Case|
British theatrical poster
|Directed by||Herbert Wilcox|
|Produced by||Herbert Wilcox|
E.C. Bentley (novel) |
Michael Wilding |
|Music by||Anthony Collins|
|Edited by||Bill Lewthwaite|
|Distributed by||Republic Pictures|
|29 October 1952|
|Box office||?155,903 (UK)|
Trent's Last Case (1952) is a British detective film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Michael Wilding, Margaret Lockwood, Orson Welles and John McCallum. It was based on the novel Trent's Last Case by E. C. Bentley, and had been filmed previously in the UK with Clive Brook in 1920, and in a 1929 US version.
A major international financier is found dead at his Hampshire home. The Record newspaper assigns its leading investigative reporter, Phillip Trent, to the case. In spite of the police cordon, he manages to gain entry to the house by posing as a relative. While there he manages to pick up some of the background to the case from Inspector Murch, the Irish detective leading the investigation. Despite Murch's suggestion that the death is suicide, Trent quickly becomes convinced that it was in fact murder.
At the inquest, the coroner swiftly concludes that the deceased, Sigsbee Manderson, had killed himself. Trent, however, is given permission by his editor to continue to pursue the story. His attention is drawn to Manderson's widow, Margaret.
Margaret Lockwood had just signed a contract with Herbert Wilcox who was better known for making films with his wife, Anna Neagle. Neagle and Lockwood were among the most popular British stars in the country in the 1940s. Lockwood's career had been in a slump and this film was seen as a comeback. It was her first film in two years.
Herbert Wilcox wrote in his memoirs that he paid Orson Welles ?12,000 for his role but because Welles was in so much debt the actor wound up with only ?150. Wilcox and Welles worked together again on Trouble in the Glen (1954).
Leonard Maltin rated the film 2.5 out of 4 stars, and noted "superior cast in lukewarm tale of the investigation of businessman's death."  while Jay Carr on the TCM website, wrote, "In Trent's Last Case, Welles shares the spotlight with his spectacular putty nose. It's a mighty ice-breaker of a nose, straight-edged as a steel blade, pulverizing all in its path, including whatever pretension to credibility this creaky British murder mystery might have retained."