The Three Weird Sisters

The Three Weird Sisters is a 1948 British melodrama film directed by Daniel Birt and starring Nancy Price, Mary Clare, Mary Merrall, Nova Pilbeam and Raymond Lovell.[1] The film has Gothic influences.[2] The screenplay was adapted by Dylan Thomas and Louise Birt from the novel The Case of the Weird Sisters by Charlotte Armstrong (mistitled The Case of the Three Weird Sisters in the opening credits).[3] The film was Birt's feature film directorial debut. It also marked the last screen appearance of Nova Pilbeam, who retired from acting after it was completed.[4][5]

The Three Weird Sisters
UK release poster
Directed byDaniel Birt
Produced byLouis H. Jackson
Written byDylan Thomas
Louise Birt
StarringNancy Price
Mary Clare
Mary Merrall
Raymond Lovell
Nova Pilbeam
Music byHans May
CinematographyErnest Palmer
Moray Grant
Edited byMonica Kimick
Distributed byAssociated British-Pathé
Release date
  • 1948 (1948)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


The elderly Morgan-Vaughan sisters Gertrude (Price), Maude (Clare) and Isobel (Merrall) live in a decaying and claustrophobic mansion in a Welsh mining village. Gertrude is blind, Maude is almost deaf and Isobel is crippled by arthritis. The coalmine from the family made their fortune is almost worked out, and its tunnels and shafts are dangerously unstable. When a section of the underground workings collapses, destroying a row of local cottages and unsettling the foundations of the mansion, the sisters feel honour-bound to finance repairs, but do not have the means to do so.

The sisters' younger half-brother Owen (Lovell), who left the village as a young man to pursue his education and has subsequently become a wealthy businessman in London, is sent for on the assumption that he will provide the necessary finances. Owen and his secretary Claire (Pilbeam) arrive from London to a cold reception. The somewhat simple-minded Thomas throws a stone that strikes Owen in the head as they drive up, and Mabli Hughes openly voices his contempt for Owen. The sisters are disconcerted to discover that he feels no sense of responsibility towards either them or the community and has no interest in contributing any money.

Dr David Davies (Anthony Hulme) recommends that Owen avoid driving for a day, so he and Claire stay the night. Strange events start to happen and eventually convince Claire that the sisters are plotting to murder Owen in order to lay hands on his money. She tries to alert other residents of the village to her suspicions, but at first is not taken seriously. Gradually, however, the doctor comes round to Claire's point of view and deduces that there is indeed a plot, instigated by the dominant Maude.



  1. ^ "The Three Weird Sisters (1948)".
  2. ^ "Gothic: Monstrous and The Dark Arts".
  3. ^ Gifford, Denis (1 April 2016). "British Film Catalogue: Two Volume Set - The Fiction Film/The Non-Fiction Film". Routledge – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Daniel Birt".
  5. ^ Bergan, Ronald; Shorter, Eric (26 July 2015). "Nova Pilbeam obituary". the Guardian.

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