A Time to Kill (1955)

Who’s the bad apple?

UK / 62 minutes / bw / Fortress, Associated British–Pathé Dir: Charles J. Saunders Scr: Doreen Montgomery Cine: James Wilson Cast: Jack Watling, Rona Anderson, Russell Napier, Keneth [sic] Kent, Mary Jones, John Horsley, Joan Hickson, John Le Mesurier, Alastair Hunter, Hélène Burls, Alan Robinson, Dandy Nichols, June Ashley.

Downtrodden doctor’s wife Florence Cole (Jones) is having to make blackmail payoffs at the abandoned Brixley Grange to a mysterious hooded figure.

Florence (Mary Jones) makes another payoff.

Her crime? She once had an affair with local analytical chemist and ladies’ man (I never before thought I’d put those two phrases in the same description) Peter Hastings (Horsley). She’s having a confrontation about it all with her pompous husband Julian (Kent)—

Julian: “How often, I wonder? How many others have there been? No . . . I don’t really want to know. If I did, I’d have to kill you.”

—when the phone rings. It is none other than the cad Peter, saying that he and visiting lady friend Madeline Tilliard (Ashley) have been poisoned by strychnine. Julian grabs his little black bag and is soon there—though not soon enough for Continue reading

Touch of Larceny, A (1959)

UK-US / 93 minutes / bw / Paramount Dir: Guy Hamilton Pr: Ivan Foxwell Scr: Roger MacDougall, Guy Hamilton, Ivan Foxwell Story: The Megstone Plot (1956) by Andrew Garve Cine: John Wilcox Cast: James Mason, Vera Miles, George Sanders, Harry Andrews, Robert Flemyng, Ernest Clark, Duncan Lamont, Percy Herbert, Junia Crawford, William Kendall, Peter Barkworth, MacDonald Parke, Mavis Villiers, Jimmy Lloyd, Barbara Hicks, William Mervyn, Dickie Owen, Basil Dignam, John Le Mesurier, Gordon Harris.

Touch of Larceny - 0 opener

In London, ex-submariner Commander Max Easton (Mason), known as “Rammer” Easton in his war-hero days, is now stuck in a seat-warming job at the Admiralty, where he idles his way through his so-called working hours before evening comes and he can practice his main hobby, seduction.

Touch of Larceny - 1 Max, as busy as he ever gets at the AdmiraltyMax (James Mason), as busy as he ever gets at the Admiralty.

One day at his squash club he runs into someone he recognizes, Charles Holland (Sanders), who during the war saved Max’s life at some stage and is now a high muck-a-muck in the diplomatic service; Charles also wallows in his inherited wealth, is a complete snob and prig, and is engaged to a beautiful US widow, Virginia Killain (Miles). On first sight of Virginia, Max is completely smitten, but she’s immune to his various wiles and Continue reading

Flat Two (1962)


Another tangled tale from Edgar Wallace!


UK / 58 minutes / bw / Merton Park, Anglo-Amalgamated Dir: Alan Cooke Pr: Jack Greenwood Scr: Lindsay Galloway Story: Flat 2 (1927) by Edgar Wallace Cine: Bert Mason Cast: John Le Mesurier, Jack Watling, Bernard Archard, Barry Keegan, Ann Bell, Campbell Singer, Charles Lloyd Pack, David Bauer, Russell Waters, George Bishop, Gerald Sim, Andre Mikhelson, Monti de Lyle, Adrian Oker, Gordon Phillott, John Wilder.

Flat Two - 0 opener

I gave this movie basic coverage in A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir, but at the time I hadn’t seen it myself (although I had read the novel). Recently I was able to watch it as part of the UK-released EDGAR WALLACE MYSTERIES Vol 3 DVD set (thanks, Stan!), one of seven volumes containing the complete series of these UK B-movies, originally released during 1960–64.

Susan Martin (Bell) has been losing hand-over-fist at the gambling club owned by slimy Emil Louba (Bauer), and he tells her that her IOUs have now added up to a staggering £10,000, money she doesn’t have. He offers to throw the IOUs away, however, if she’ll go on holiday with him to the continent and become his mistress. Susan, although visibly nauseated by the prospect, doesn’t see that she has much choice.

When she breaks it to her architect fiancé Frank Leamington (Watling) that she’s not going to marry him after all, he Continue reading

Escape from Broadmoor (1948)


Spookitude? Noirishness? A youthful John Le Mesurier? Who could ask for more?


UK / 38 minutes / bw / IMP, Grand National Dir & Scr: John Gilling Pr: Harry Reynolds Cine: Cyril Bristow Cast: Victoria Hopper, John Stuart, John Le Mesurier, Frank Hawkins, Antony Doonan, Blanche Fothergill, T. Gilly Fenwick, William Douglas, A. Sawford-Dye, Elizabeth Howarth, Pat Ryan.

Escape from Broadmoor - closer

This short feature, the first in John Gilling’s directorial career, is an intriguing crossover between noirishness and the ghost story. Gilling gives it a somewhat grandiloquent opening scroll:

In presenting the first of my series of psychic mysteries, I merely relate the story of ‘ESCAPE FROM BROADMOOR’ as it was told me. I do not vouch for its truth or accuracy—I do not know if it happened at all, or if it did, whether it happened quite like this—but the story interested me. I hope it will interest you too.

John Gilling

So far as I can ascertain, and please feel free to correct me, there were no further episodes in what Gilling clearly conceived as a series.

Escape from Broadmoor - 3 Pendicost persuades Jenkins to cooperate

Pendicost John Le Mesurier) persuades his acolyte Jenkins (Antony Doonan)  to cooperate.

Ten years ago two crooks, Pendicost (Le Mesurier) and O’Gorman, raided a grand London house, Twelvetrees, the residence of Roger Trent (Hawkins). A maid interrupted them, and one of the two men shot her down. O’Gorman was hanged for the murder; Pendicost turned King’s Evidence and was instead judged criminally insane and sent to Broadmoor, the UK’s main maximum-security psychiatric unit. But three months ago Pendicost Continue reading