A girl reporter is blackmailed for learning that a man is a freed murderer.

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(adaptation), (play) | 1 more credit »
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Nina Grant
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Malcolm Ferres
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Raymond Carteret
Adrianne Allen ...
Brenda Fallon
Donald Calthrop ...
Winton Penner
Edna Davies ...
Sybil Arundale ...
Sally Britt
J. Fisher White ...
Stranger
Gerard Lyley ...
Cyril Gayling
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A girl reporter is blackmailed for learning that a man is a freed murderer.

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based on play | See All (1) »

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Crime | Drama

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17 October 1930 (USA)  »

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1.20 : 1
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She should have run him over.
12 May 2005 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

'Loose Ends' is based on a stage play, and it certainly feels like it. This drama is stagey and slow, with the actors' technique calling attention to the contrivances in the plot. The central role appears to have been written for Noel Coward circa 'The Vortex', or perhaps for Ivor Novello. Instead we get somebody named Owen Nares, who is both slightly too old and not quite dissipated enough for the role.

The play's author, Dion Titheradge, was an Australian-born Englishman whose best authorial credit was the comedy routine he wrote for Australian-born Englishwoman Cicely Courtneidge, in which she attempted to buy 'one double-dozen double-damask dinner napkins'. This sketch was ripped off by Canadian-born Englishwoman Beatrice Lillie, who performed it in America so often that most Americans believed Lillie had created the material. Anyroad, here's the synopsis of 'Loose Ends':

Years ago, when Malcolm Ferres (Nares) was an undergraduate, he shot an upperclassman who had wronged Ferres's sister. The film makes it clear that Ferres was morally justified, but he was sentenced to 15 years in an Australian penal colony. Now he has returned to London, skint and utterly broken. With no money and no prospects, he spends two nights sleeping rough in Hyde Park.

Regrettably, there's a 'meet cute' scene here. While Nina Grant is motoring through the park, she nearly runs down Ferres. Rather implausibly, he charms her, and one thing leads to another; with remarkable speed, Ferres and Nina Grant are married! Oh, she just happens to be the most glamorous actress in the West End, although you'd hardly know it from Edna Best's performance. The marriage is made even less plausible because Nina knows nothing of Malcolm Ferres's past. To explain why he knows so little about current events, he claims to be from the provinces! In addition to being a stage star, Nina Grant plays hostess to a steady procession of brittle society snobs with names like Cyril Gayling. The best performance in the film is given by Adrianne Allen as Nina's cynical wisecracking friend, who uses up-to-date slang words like 'lousy'.

SPOILERS COMING. Now the plot rears its ugly head. Just when Nina and Malcolm seem to be headed for marital bliss, the Fleet Street newspapers learn about his past ... and soon there are headlines that threaten to ruin Nina's stage career, to say nothing of the marriage. Having personally witnessed how nasty the British print media can be, I found these scenes quite realistic.

There's a happy ending, but you likely won't care. Miles Mander easily out-acts Owen Nares (who he, anyway?) in their scenes together. I'll rate this movie just 3 in 10.


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