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Maria Marten, or The Murder in the Red Barn (1935) Poster

Trivia

The real Red Barn, where Maria Marten was murdered in 1828 is in the village of Polstead, Suffolk, UK. Baroness Rendell of Babergh lives there now; she is better known as crime writer Ruth Rendell .
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Adapted from a play that was based on a real-life murder case from 1827, although the play (and film) presented a highly sensationalized and sentimental version of the story. The real Maria Marten was hardly the innocent, virginal young thing as seen here; by the time of her murder she had already borne two children out of wedlock and was notoriously free with her affections. She had also had a child by Corder (with whom she was having a consensual affair), which either died or was murdered. (The character of her other "good" lover is a complete fiction.) Marten's stepmother claimed to have dreams where Maria's ghost led her to the spot where her body was later found; later researchers have speculated that the stepmother (only a few years older than Maria) was an accomplice to the murder. Corder was the same age group as Maria; the Victorian melodramas made him into an older man and very much a stereotypical upper-crust villain. Much was written about it at the time and fascination with the case continued well into the 20th century.
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This film received its earliest documented USA telecast in Los Angeles Sunday 27 February 1949 on KTSL (Channel 2).
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Tod Slaughter was 49 when he made his film debut here.
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The villains scalp is still on exhibition at the Bury St Edmunds Museum.
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