Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1960s Stranger in the House (1967)

Stranger in the House (1967)

Away from Carnaby Street, far from the King’s Road, the Summer of Love was happening outside the capital too, with the kids running wild as far distant as whacked-out Winchester and psyched Southampton.

This unfairly forgotten crime thriller from that yardstick year is a dark drama of murder, mystery and generational conflict, dazzlingly dolled up in fab, flamboyant made-to-measure threads.

Directed by Pierre Rouve, it stars that great trouper James Mason, delivering an old pro’s masterclass in scenery-chewing and scene-stealing, thoroughly convincing as John Sawyer, an alcoholic barrister at odds with his with-it daughter, Angela – played by a groovy Geraldine Chaplin in one of her earliest starring roles.

Drunken daddy is reluctantly lured out of his crumbling old house to defend her banged-up boyfriend, Jo (Paul Bertoya), who’s been arrested on a murder charge.

The spoilt rich offspring of the local civic dignitaries freak out to the latest beat-group platters, frug it up in a seedy black-walled underground discotheque, naughtily puff on spliffs, and rampage around the docks nearby in their swanky high-speed motorboat.

Meanwhile, the supposedly respectable old folks seek solace in their overstuffed bankbooks, contemplate another visit to the local strip club or drink themselves into oblivion.

Critics at the time were not very impressed with Geraldine Chaplin’s powerful performance, didn’t appreciate imported American singer Bobby Darin as Barney Teale, a sleazy ship’s steward looking for kicks, and ignored the presence of a great supporting cast.

There’s a terrific turn by up-and-coming Ian Ogilvy, as Desmond, a rebellious rich-boy up to no good and wearing some eye-catching bang-on-trend ’67 fashions.

Stranger in the House is a terrific time capsule – loaded with ephemeral imagery that has become precious and poignant period detail, beautifully shot on location by Academy award winner Ken Higgins – who’d scooped up an Oscar for his work on Georgy Girl (1966) – and stylishly soundtracked by rocking Newcastle R&B hitmakers The Animals.

Released in some markets as Cop-Out.

John Sawyer
James Mason
Angela Sawyer
Geraldine Chaplin
Barney Teale
Bobby Darin
Jo Christoforides
Paul Bertoya
Desmond Flower
Ian Ogilvy
Peter Hawkins
Bryan Stanyon
Sue Phillips
Pippa Steel
Col. Flower
Clive Morton
Mrs Flower
Moira Lister
Harry Hawkins
James Hayter
Mrs Christoforides
Megs Jenkins
Diana Sawyer
Lisa Daniely
Marjie Lawrence
Michael Danvers-Walker
Inspector Colder
Ivor Dean

Pierre Rouve