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The house and estate formed the nucleus of the film, on-screen and off, as it served as both shooting location and production headquarters.
Other important scenes were taken in Norwich, Hanworth, Heydon, Hickling and Thornage, all exquisitely shot by cinematographer Gerry Fisher.
Scores of locals were enlisted as extras but one Norfolk talent was sadly overlooked: hearing of the production, a young Stephen Fry eagerly cycled over to Melton Hall to see if he could appear in the adaptation of one of his favourite books. After arriving in Norfolk, Paxton (Peter Vaughan), an out-of-work clerk with a passion for archaeology, strikes out in search of an Anglo-Saxon crown.
Legend has it that three crowns possessed a strange power that protected the Kingdom of Anglia from invasion.
Witchfinder General was directed by the 24-year-old Michael Reeves, who grew up in Suffolk himself, but who would die tragically a few months after the film was released.
Made for Tigon British and Corman’s AIP studio, it’s a film that cuts deeper than many of the contemporaneous Hammer horrors in its disturbing depiction of the abuse of power and how morality and faith can be twisted for evil purpose.
Dillon discovered Melton Constable Hall, a 17th-century manor by then neglected and falling into disrepair (a situation sadly unchanged at the date of writing).Krüger, fresh from success in The One That Got Away (1957) is fine as the hero, but despite being relegated to bemused love interest status, it’s Sylvia Sims who steals the film.This was not the first film to mine the sepulchral thrills of seeing Vincent Price at large in the East Anglian countryside.Witches, Nazis and Anglo-Saxon curses – on film, East Anglia isn’t the rural idyll you might think…To celebrate the release of 45 Years, let’s look east at other great movies with starring roles for Suffolk, Norfolk or Cambridgeshire.