A FAMILY home known to millions of film fans as a macabre murder mansion is being sold for £1.75m.
More than 30 years after it was the backcloth to some of the most dramatic scenes in the 1971 cult movie Get Carter, grade II- listed Dryderdale Hall, near Hamsterley, County Durham, is about to start a new chapter in its own colourful history.
In the film, two of the biggest stars of the Seventies clashed on screen. Playing the film's hero Jack Carter, Michael Caine travelled from Newcastle to the house to take his revenge on his brother's killer, Cyril Kinnair, a seedy gang boss played by John Osborne.
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At Dryderdale, Carter confronted Kinnair during a card game in the lounge, the body of a woman was dragged from a pond in the grounds and police descended on the house to arrest Kinnair and his henchmen.
During the Get Carter era, Dryderdale was owned by Vince Landa, a flamboyant fruit machine tycoon with his own underworld connections.
Ravaged by fire a few years later, it was eventually restored to the baronial grandeur envisaged by original architect Alfred Waterhouse, who also designed the Natural History Museum, when he built it for the wealthy Backhouse banking family, of Darlington, in 1872.
For present owners Michael and Dot Morley, who took over in 1991, the hall has been the perfect family home but they are finding its six bedrooms and 20 acres of land too much for them.
The couple hope another family will move in and don't imagine whoever buys their home will necessarily be a Get Carter fan.
Mrs Morley said: "I won't watch the film. It is too violent, and what it showed is nothing like the house we know. It is a very peaceful place and we love it.
"It is large but it is still a comfortable family home. The layout has not changed very much since the film was made, but other things are different because of the fire. It will be very hard to leave when the time comes."
Estate Agent Gordon Carver, of Nick and Gordon Carver Residential, believes the house will attract national and international interest.
He said: "Properties like Dryderdale Hall rarely come onto the market and I would expect strong interest from both the national and international marketplace. The market for country houses with land is still relatively buoyant and appears to be unaffected by the reported credit crunch."