Moss Rose (film)

Moss Rose is a 1947 period thriller film noir directed by Gregory Ratoff, and starring Peggy Cummins and Victor Mature.[1]

Moss Rose
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGregory Ratoff
Produced byGene Markey
Screenplay byNiven Busch
Jules Furthman
Tom Reed
Based onthe novel Moss Rose
by Joseph Shearing
StarringPeggy Cummins
Victor Mature
Ethel Barrymore
Vincent Price
Music byDavid Buttolph
CinematographyJoseph MacDonald
Edited byJames B. Clark
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • May 30, 1947 (1947-05-30) (United States)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States


Set in Victorian London, the story concerns a music hall chorus girl, Belle Adair, aka Rose Lynton, who blackmails a gentleman, Michael Drego, after seeing him leave the house where another dancer, Daisy Arrow, was found murdered. Instead of accepting money she demands to be invited to the man's stately home to experience the life of a lady. The woman becomes friends with the man's mother, Lady Margaret Drego, his fiancée, Audrey Ashton, but her peace is disturbed when the police inspector, Deputy Inspector Evans, arrives to question them further about the murder. Then another murder is committed in similar circumstances.



20th Century Fox announced they had paid their highest ever price for the screen rights to a novel for Moss Heart, but did not specify how much. The film was immediately assigned to Peggy Cummins, who had been fired from Forever Amber.[2]



The film was a commercial disappointment. Darryl F. Zanuck called it "a catastrophe, for which I blame myself. Our picture was not as good as the original script and the casting was atrocious. The property lost $1,300,000 net."[3]

Critical response

When the film was released, The New York Times film critic, Bosley Crowther, praised the film, writing, "Readers of thriller fiction have been talking for quite some time about a writer called Joseph Shearing, whose many period mysteries are said to have a flavor and distinction all their own. And now it appears that film-goers will have reason to join the claque, if all of this author's output is as adaptable as the first to reach the screen. For Moss Rose, the first of several promised Shearing films, which hit the Roxy yesterday, is a suave and absorbing mystery thriller, neatly plotted and deliciously played ... Thanks to a splendid performance by Peggy Cummins in the role of the girl, there is something to watch when she is acting besides the consequence of the makeup artist's work. Her job as the Cockney chorine has spirit, humor and brass—and a surprisingly tender quality which nicely rounds the role."[4]

The staff at Variety magazine also gave the film a positive review. They wrote, "Moss Rose is good whodunit. Given a lift by solid trouping and direction, melodrama is run off against background of early-day England that provides effective setting for theme of destructive mother love ... Gregory Ratoff's direction develops considerable flavor to the period melodramatics. He gets meticulous performances from players in keeping with mood of piece."[5]


  1. Moss Rose at the TCM Movie Database.
  2. FOX STARRING ROLE FOR MISS CUMMINS: Studio Pays Its Record Price to Get 'Moss Rose' as Film for English Actress Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 23 Sep 1946: 27.
  3. Memo from Darryl F Zanuck to Charlie Feldman, 7 June 1950, Memo from Darryl F. Zanuck, Grove Press 1993 p 168.
  4. Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, "Moss Rose Mystery Thriller at the Roxy Theatre, Offers Peggy Cummins and Victor Mature in the Principal Roles", July 3, 1947. Accessed: July 14, 2013.
  5. Variety. Staff film review, 1947. Accessed: July 14, 2013.
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