Sometimes a good house can make a movie! Such is the case with “A Kind of Murder.” Based upon the 1954 book “The Blunderer” by Patricia Highsmith (who also penned the novels “Strangers on a Train” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” both of which were famously adapted for the screen), the psychological thriller follows wealthy architect/part-time mystery writer Walter Stackhouse (Patrick Wilson) who becomes obsessed with a local man accused of murdering his wife and then winds up embroiled in a very similar case when his own wife, Clara (Jessica Biel), is found dead under nearly identical circumstances.
The 2016 film, directed by Andy Goddard, largely flew under the radar (its domestic gross was an unbelievably scant $2,915), though it did draw quite a few jeers from critics. Vox reporter Alissa Wilkinson wrote, “‘A Kind of Murder’ tries to be a psychological thriller, but forgets the psychological part. It’s not very thrilling either.” And reviewer Matt Pais had this to say, “Appealing exclusively to people who play board games for the enjoyment of setting up the pieces, ‘A Kind of Murder’ is less cat-and-mouse than cat-and-mirror. The movie just sits there, proud to look pretty, not really doing anything.”
He’s not wrong. From the costume design to the makeup to the locations, “A Kind of Murder” (now streaming on both Hulu and Vudu) is undeniably pretty. Set in New York in 1960, filmmakers looked to Cincinnati, Ohio and its environs, an area that, per the production notes, boasts a “treasure trove of intact vintage architecture,” to mask as their retro Big Apple. Production designer Pete Zumba says, “All period films have their unique challenges, but Cincinnati more than held its own as a substitute for era-specific New York City.”
A few Queen City-area spots featured in the movie include Union Terminal (1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati), the Marianne Theater (607 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, Kentucky) and a former Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant (1101 Front St., New Richmond), which masqueraded as Harry’s Rainbow Grill, the rest stop where both women’s deaths occurred.
But the real star of the film is the midcentury modern home where Walter and Clara live. Said to be at 49 Marlborough Road in the fictional town of Greendale in Westchester County, the brick and glass pad can actually be found at 7900 Rollingknolls Dr. in Amberley, a small village located about ten miles north of Cincinnati.