Yay for Daylight Savings Time and losing an hour of sleep. Personally, I would rather have that hour of sleep back because I didn’t set my alarm and my own internal alarm clock decided to sleep in, so I wound up kind of scrambling to get things done this morning. Now I am back home and trying to get this done before I have to go try and run some errands. So today’s movie is another movie starring Tod Slaughter, but this time it is not a horror movie, but a drama that he is in. Now I get why they would include this movie in the Legends Of Horror box set, as Tod Slaughter definitely starred in a number of early horror movies, but I do wish that Mills Creek would stick to the subject at hand as there are several other movies they could have used. Oh well, enough complaining about things. Time to get on with today’s movie, It’s Never Too Late To Mend.
The plot: In the 1856, Charles Reade wrote about the condition of English prisons and when she read the book, Queen Victoria asked if such barbarisms were being committed in her name and orders an investigation, which would lead to prison reform. During this period in time, Squire Meadows is speaking with Farmer Merton and his daughter Susan and while Meadows has expressed interest in Susan’s hand in marriage, she refuses as she is in love with George Fielding. Merton is not happy with their romance, as he feels Geroge’s poor status is not fitting of his daughter and tries to get Susan to spend time with Meadows while he talks to George. Later, Meadows has his friend, Lawyer Crawley bring up the papers for Merton’s mortgage as he has a plan to use it to get an advantage over Susan. Meanwhile, George is speaking with Reverend Eden when they are joined by Merton and Susan, and Merton reminds Eden that he is supposed to be having dinner with them that night. As they are leaving the church grounds, they run into Tom Robinson, a friend of Geroge’s, and Merton walks off in a huff at how Tom speaks to the reverend in such a familiar fashion. Later that night, George and Tom are having dinner when they are joined by a friend of theirs who is leaving for Australia, and offer to have Tom come with him as he will easily earn the money to marry Susan in 2-3 years. Meanwhile, Meadows is changing the time for Merton’s mortgage to be due with Crawley when the local inspector and groundskeeper appear. The groundskeeper says that someone had been poaching on their land and he followed the tracks to a hole in the hedges on the far end of the property. Realizing that is close to where Geroge’s property lies, Meadows pays off the groundskeeper and inspector to say that George was poaching so that he will be arrested for it. The next day, Crawley goes to see Merton and tells him his payment is due and demands the money immediately, but Merton says he doesn’t have the money but can pay it in a week. As Susan and Merton try to argue their case with Crawley, Meadows shows up and then offers to pay off the debt, making Merton beholden to him. Later, Meadows goes with the inspector to arrest George, choosing to do it when Susan is visiting him to convince her of his guilt. When he overhears the charges, Tom enters the house and confesses to poaching, sacrificing himself to spare his friend a jail sentence. George then agrees to sail to Australia as he was forced to sell off his family land to pay off the debts and Susan gives him her locket as a reminder and swears to wait for him. At the prison, some visiting wardens are there to see how the prisoners are doing and Meadows tells the prisoners to say everything is fine and says he will punish those that do not do as he says. Reverend Eden shows up at the prison during this time and is horrified to see what Meadows does as Justice of the Peace. Eden refuses to allow a young boy placed in chains, choosing to hold him as he dies, then stays outside the door to “the Black Hole” during the day as Tom has been placed in it. Meanwhile, Meadows has had Crawley steal George’s letters to Susan and learns that George has struck it rich and is returning home with plenty of money to satisfy her father. Meadows has Crawley spread the word that George is returning home but bringing a bride that he met in Sydney with him. As word spreads through town, it reaches Susan’s ears and she refuses to believe it at first but falls into a depression when her father essentially forces her to marry Meadows. Tome is released from prison and hears about what is going on and goes to meet George to tell him the news. As they discuss what has happened and get a room at the inn, the are unaware that Meadows has observed them. While they are looking at the room, Meadows sneaks into the inn and slips a drug into their drink, then ducks out of sight as they come back down stairs. George offers a toast and proceeds to drink his glass and passes out but Tom, noticing the slightly opened door, pretends to drink his glass and fakes being asleep. Meadows sneaks in and steals the papers from George’s jacket that prove his wealth but Tom sees him and follows after him. At Meadows’ house, Tom sees Meadows about to burn the papers but Crawley stops him and convinces Meadows to let him keep the papers. Later, Meadows goes to see Merton and learns that Reverend Eden is performing the ceremony and gets enraged but quickly hides it when Susan enters the room. George arrives at the house to try and speak to Susan but Merton and Meadows chastise him and when George learns that the papers are missing, try to cast the blame on Tom. When George asks that Susan believe him and she says she does, just as Tom enters the room with Crawley. Crawley confesses to receiving the papers from Meadows, who draws a pistol and points it at the group, threatening to shoot one of them. Reverend Eden arrives with the authorities and they go to take Meadows to prison and he rants at Susan that the bells are ringing out that George will break her heart. As the Meadows spends his time in the prison, he thinks back to something Reverend Eden said, about how it is never too late to mend.
This was a pretty good, but predictable, bit of drama. The acting was good, with Tod Slaughter doing his usual role of the evil villain doing whatever he can to get the girl. Man, I generally don’t like to see people typecasted into roles but he definitely gets placed in these roles because he is so freaking good at playing the role. The story was good, adding a bit of historical background to it to make it a little more realistic. There weren’t any special effects in the movie but the film editing left a little to be desired as the cut-aways and the transition between scenes didn’t really seem to flow all that smoothly. Not something I would go searching for, but definitely worth a watch if it comes on.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5