Penny Gold (1974) James Booth, Francesca Annis, Nicky Henson, Joss Ackland, Penelope Keith, Una Stubbs Movie Review

Penny Gold (1974)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Francesca Annis in Penny Gold (1974)

Flattering Philately

When a young woman is found murdered, her face battered beyond recognition, it is Det. Chief Insp. Matthews (James Booth - That'll Be the Day) who is put in charge of the investigation. The woman who was brutally killed happened to be an identical twin whose sister Delphi (Francesca Annis - Crooks in Cloisters) is called in to identify the body. Not only does Matthews start to grow fond of Delphi but he uncovers a motive as Delphi's sister had a connection to a rare and extremely valuable stamp.

As someone who was born at the start of the 70s my memories of 70s TV and movies are not that fond as I was forced to mainly watch what ever my parents wanted to watch. I think that is why when it comes to a lot of 70s cinema I find it a struggle especially British 70s cinema as it always seemed so dreary. That brings me to "Penny Gold" a movie I have only just stumbled across but is exactly the dreary sort of crime story which I find a struggle.

James Booth in Penny Gold (1974)

Now in fairness "Penny Gold" is directed by the late Jack Cardiff who amongst movie fans is better known for his cinematography and whilst it is Ken Hodges in charge of the cinematography the camera work is the best thing about the movie. Oh it still has that dreary look of 70s British cinema and at times feels heavily hacked around to keep it down to a reasonable running time but the general camera work is much better than you would normally find in most British detective movies of the 70s.

But beyond the look "Penny Gold" is simply not the most exciting of movies with a plot line which when you discover it is a crime story featuring twins becomes very obvious to work out and can do so very quickly. And unfortunately once you realise what is going on there isn't a lot else to keep you interested; no major twists, no truly exciting action and well I could go on because there is nothing from even the characters which makes "Penny Gold" gripping or brain teasing. It is basically just another 70s detective movie which for those who enjoyed watching these sorts of movies back in the 70s might still hold some sort of appeal.

What this all boils down to is that "Penny Gold" is stereotypical of its era and genre and so now has very limited appeal. Even those who have an interest in stamp collecting will find it ultimately unrewarding as whilst not bad is by no means gripping enough.