February 27, 2017


How to Murder a Rich Uncle – 1957 | 79 mins | Comedy | B&W

Plot Synopsis

How to Murder a Rich Uncle

Black comedy directed by and starring Nigel Patrick. How to Murder a Rich Uncle echoes much of the spirit of Ealing’s Kind Hearts and Coronets and is similarly based on a French stageplay; Didier Dax’s ‘l faut tuer Julie.’ Once again a strong cast of British stalwarts are on hand including Nigel Patrick, Wendy Hiller, Athene Seyler and particularly Katie Johnson who gives a droll performance as one of Uncle George’s more perceptive relatives.

The impoverished Clitterburn family live on a grand English estate but times are hard and the head of the household, Sir Henry (Nigel Patrick), seizes upon news of the impending arrival of their rich Canadian Uncle George (Charles Coburn) as the solution to their financial woes. Sir Henry has outstanding death duties to pay and intends nothing as demeaning as begging for money; instead he intends for Cousin George to meet with a fatal ‘accident.’ George and Albert put in place a scheme for George to get shot in a hunting accident on his arrival but instead kill Aunt Marjorie as she passes by.

Next the family conspire to poison George with his beloved tea bags but due to a mix-up they only succeed in killing Granny (Athlene Seyler). But Sir Henry is undeterred by these minor setbacks, and immediately begins plotting with Albert to drown George during a fishing trip on the river but once again all does not go smoothly and Albert (Kenneth Fortescue) is the next Clitterburn being laid to rest. Again Henry devises a trap for George, this time involving a wobbly step on the staircase, and again it backfires with Edith (Wendy Hiller) the poor unsuspecting victim. Henry finally plans to despatch Uncle George by concocting a booby-trap involving a shotgun – but he unwittingly forgets and walks straight into a calamity himself.

Constance’s boyfriend, criminologist Edward (Anthony Newley), finds the escalating body count astonishing and after eavesdropping on many of the families conversations comes to the conclusion George is bumping the Clitterburn’s off one by one! He takes his accusations to the police and an enquiry is convened.

Production Team

Nigel Patrick: Director
Max Varnel: Director
John Box: Art Direction
Ted Moore: Cinematography
Irving Allen: Executive Producer
Albert R Broccoli: Executive Producer
Ronald Kinnoch: Executive Producer
Bert Rule: Film Editing
Kenneth V Jones: Original Music
John Paxton: Producer
John Paxton: Script
Peter Davies: Sound Department
Bert Ross: Sound Department


Nigel Patrick: Henry
Charles Coburn: Uncle George
Wendy Hiller: Edith Clitterburn
Katie Johnson: Alice
Anthony Newley: Edward
Athene Seyler: Grannie
Kenneth Fortescue: Albert
Patricia Webster: Constance
Michael Caine: Gilrony

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