Sunday 6 February 2022

A HYMN FOR HER (2022) (Short)

Directed by: Emma Pitt. Starring Linda Marlowe. Short. 

Horror, UK 2022, 9mins.

A Misty Moon & One Eyed Man Music and Film Production. 

Premiering at the Genesis Cinema, as part of The Dark Side magazine’s DarkFest 5 in November.

“I’m not a monster.”

Whilst viewing award winning writer/director Emma Pitt’s latest short film A HYMN FOR HER, I was very much reminded of a Pet Shop Boys song entitled ‘Invisible’: “After being for so many years, the life and soul of the party, it's weird, I'm invisible.”

Former starlet ‘Rosemary De Souza’ (Linda Marlowe) sits in front of her mirror surrounded by posters and framed imaged reminders of her younger self reflecting to her reflection on her heyday years past, the adulation and attention she once commanded, garnering rave reviews and turning heads as a young glamorous actress. Now, with the ageing of time, Rosemary feels herself invisible and largely ignored by a society that assigns a woman’s value and worth on looks and pigeon holes and prejudices based on the superficial exterior of youth and perceived ‘beauty’. Barged into without a hint of an apology, sneered at in a boutique, on the receiving end of unsolicited advice “for women of your age” from her hairdresser, and ignored whilst waiting to be served at the bar: a day in the life of ‘Rosemary De Souza’.

But, as ‘Rosemary’ confides directly to us, “When I said earlier I do nothing about it, that’s not strictly true…”

Having been executive producer on Misty Moon’s previous short: READY FOR MY CLOSE UP (about a fictional fading homicidal B-movie actress), the venerable Linda Marlowe - whose own illustrious stage, film, and TV career is neither fictional nor B-movie in quality – here brings her A-game to writer/director Emma Pitt’s poignant and pithy tale of societal patronisation.

After soliloquising into her bedroom mirror, Marlowe breaks the fourth wall to brilliant effect. Pitt’s script gifts Marlowe with some juicy barbs such as: “It’s not you, it’s my secretary who’s 20 years younger than you” when ruthlessly translating her husband’s attempt to justify leaving her, and the sharply inflected expletives land like verbal grenades. And even without dialogue, Marlowe’s turn to camera upon being advised to consider a bob by her stylist manages to convey the film’s theme in just one succinct gesture.

All this is not to say the film is in anyway preachy or ‘woke’. Rosemary’s exacerbations never ring as hollow posturing and Marlowe draws us along with her sympathetically before her plight simmers over from frustration to boiling point and we are invited to be complicit in her very literal strategy for dealing with a cutthroat world.

There’s fun to be had in spotting cameos from Deborah Voorhees (director of 13 FANBOY and ‘Tina’ from FRIDAY THE 13TH PART V), Hayley Greenbauer (13 FANBOY) and the amusing ‘missing’ posters cropping up during both mid and post end credits: one featuring producer Stuart Morris; and one of Rosemary’s ‘missing’ husband, played by Dave Sutherland, who also contributes the end-credits song ‘Meadow Daises’.

Speaking of which, the song's melody is also employed in the film’s opening, treated with a haunting piano arrangement from DOP and editor Jason Read which sets the off-key tone of the film perfectly. There’s also some nice use of Mozart and later Tchaikovsky to accompany the grand guignol macabre.

Whilst Linda Marlowe’s ‘Rosemary De Souza’ is largely unnoticed to the world and invisible, A HYMN FOR HER very much deserves to be seen by audiences who will surely sing its praises.  


Paul Worts