So I was shelving films in the library when I spotted this. A mystery starring Billie Piper, the actress who played Fanny in Mansfield Park?
And J.J. Feild who was the incredible Mr. Tilney in Northanger Abbey?
I just had to watch it.
Victoria Beatrice “Sally” Lockhart’s (Billie Piper) father has died and left her with nothing more than questions and a mean relative that insults her and abuses her.
She receives a letter telling her to question Mr. Marchbanks and to stay away from The Seven Blessings.
She has a lot of unanswered questions and heads to the merchant’s office where her father held a position. She tries to get answers from one of the head clerks, but as soon as he hears The Seven Blessings he becomes angry, orders her out, has a heart attack, and dies.
They call the police and deal with everything, the only good thing coming out of it is that an errand boy, Jim (Matt Smith, yes Dr. Who himself) agrees to help Sally.
Sally has no other leads so she sends a letter to Mr. Marchbanks to get some answers.
Meanwhile, there is an ugly (the character’s comments not mine) woman who has been torturing, killing, and hunting something. She has kidnapped a sailor, Matthew Bedwell, and is trying to get information out of him, but he refuses as he has a message for Sally Lockhart alone.
Sally hears from Mr. Marchbanks and heads out to meet with him. She stops to ask handsome and dreamy photographer Frederick Garland (J.J. Feild) for directions. The part that I really likes is how he looks at her when he is talking to her, but once she starts talking about photography he really looks at her-and is amazed: like what a gorgeous brilliant woman. I thought it was cute.
I just love J.J. Feild in everything I have seen him in. He’s just so dreamy.
Anyways, he sends Sally on the right way hoping to get her name, but no dice. She goes to Mr. Marchbanks, but he tells her he can’t talk as Mrs. Holland is in the house. Sally has no clue what he is talking about, but listens to him as he gives her a package and asks her to leave as Mrs. Holland is dangerous and will try to kill her.
Sally runs off while Mrs. Holland comes and tries to get the package from Marchbanks. It turns out that Mrs. Holland is the woman who has been chasing and killing all the people-“the old hag”.
When Mrs. Holland returns from the other room, Mr. Marchbanks taunts her- telling her that she is out of luck and never going to get the package. Mrs. Holland becomes so angry she kills him.
A Maid sees her, and in fear for her life tells her that a Sally Lockhart was here and just left pointing the way she went. Mrs. Holland runs after Sally and Sally has only moments to hide. She runs to Fredrick, and he hides her in his photography tent. To show her gratitude she gives him her name and takes a train back to London.
As she rides the train back to her Aunt, she opens the package and sees it contains a journal. She starts to read and discovers that her father, Captain Lockhart, was given a giant ruby from the Maharajah when he was a soldier in India. But before she can continue she falls asleep.
Unbeknownst to Sally, Mrs. Holland has a thief on the train, Mr. Hopkins. He steals the journal but doesn’t notice one page falls out.
When Sally wakes up she discovers she only has the last page which give clues to where to find the Ruby. When Mrs. Holland sees that the most important page is missing, Mr. Hopkins travels to Sally’s aunt’s house to steal the last page. His arrival wakens Sally and instead of wondering if she is okay her Aunt accuses her of making the whole business up for attention, Sally moves out and in with Fredrick and his sister Rose (played by Hayley Atwell-who also starred in Mansfield Park as Mary Crawford,) an actress.
Fredrick is a very educated man and deduces the Latin in the riddle. Meanwhile, Matthew sends a servant girl, Adelaide to give them a message. Sally searches for Matthew Bedlam but ends up taking some opium and sees a memory from the past.
Meanwhile, Matthew and Fredrick break into Holland’s place to get Matthew out. Matthew reveals to Sally that a criminal called Ah Ling, head of the Chinese Triads called The Seven Blessings killed her father, Captain Lockhart.
Also Sally and Fredrick have been growing closer together…
Mrs Holland figures out the riddle and heads to find the ruby but it is gone. She has Matthew killed and Adelaide kidnapped. Fredrick and Jim run after and try to get her back, but while they stop her people, Mrs. Holland and Adelaide slip out of her grasp.
Sally goes under the opium to remember what happened as a child. She decides to go after the ruby, but Rosa reveals that Jim found it a long time ago and hid it to protect Sally’s life.
Sally goes to meet Mrs. Holland, against Rose’s wishes, and brings the ruby. The truth is revealed. Captain Lockhart is not Sally’s father.
Mr. Marchbanks was Sally’s father.
Mr. Marchbanks was an opium addict and actually caused the death of the Maharajah when he left for his fix. Captain Lockhart saw Marchbanks’ daughter in the opium den, and afraid for what would happen to her he traded the ruby for Sally.
Mr. Marchbanks said the Ruby belongs to Sally-her inheritance, but Mrs. Holland said it was hers. It turns out that when she was a young girl she traded her virginity in exchange for the ruby, but the Maharajah reneged in the deal.
Sally tosses the Ruby in the water, as she doesn’t need it. Mrs. Holland follows the ruby that she desire so much she has killed, stolen, and destroyed many things to acquire.
Meanwhile, Sally is approached by one of her father’s trusted men, Hendrik Van Eeden. She expects him to give her a ride home but he ends up kidnapping her!
It turns out that he isn’t who she thought he was. He is Ah Ling.
Not kidding, I thought the same thing. Turns out that he is biracial-Dutch and Chinese. H goes by Ah Ling as his criminal name in moving the opium, and then using his father’s name to fool the English soldiers. He has been killing all kinds of people who interfered with his opium trade, like Sally’s father. He threatens Sally with a knife, but unbeknownst to him her father taught her well, and Sally always carries a gun on her.
After all this turmoil with Sally returns to the Garland home with her friends-Frederick, Rose, and Jim-deciding to remain Lockhart (as he was her real father) and just taking each day by day.
It was a good movie-with a great twist. I did not see the Ah Ling being Van Eeden.
It has wonderful characters that I’m sure you will enjoy.
To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)
For the previous post, go to Go Ahead and Shoot…As Far As Killing Me, Well, I Don’t Think You’re That Good a Shot: Possessed (1947)
For more J.J. Feild, go to Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart
For more Mansfield Park, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen
For more Northanger Abbey, go to No One Would Have Ever Guessed