The GLG Reports
Page 24 of 67

The House That Jack Built
By Grant L. Goggans

Quite justifiably, "The House that Jack Built" is one of the most infamous of all the Mrs. Peel episodes. The design of the house interior is striking and different, and the repetitive, déjà vu-like trips to the room with the humming Doctor Who-like prop have a compelling weirdness to them. Also helping matters is the rather odd soundtrack. It's pretty conventional for the first twenty minutes or so, apart from the humming, but when Mrs. Peel first gets out of the corridor and into another room, Joe Meek's mad cousin takes over with a series of harsh synthesizer chords. When the music isn't weird, the episode is frequently very quiet. There is comparatively little dialogue, and whole minutes pass between lines at times. I would have preferred that Clemens had not resorted to giving Mrs. Peel a "thinking" voice-over (I was reminded of the Mission: Impossible episode "The Town"), but to be fair, I can't imagine a better way to let us in on her conclusions on how the house works. This slow, logical unfolding of events works wonderfully, as we get a few clues at a time, and at the very most, the keenest of viewers can at best be expected to only be a step or two ahead of Mrs. Peel's character... it's that well structured a mystery. It would appear all the episode's budget was afforded to the freaky house interior, as the only location filming involves doubles subbing for the principals, and unconvincing back screen projection used when their faces are needed. This would probably make a very bad choice for a first episode to show a new fan, but once you're hooked, it will be quite entertaining.

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