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John Francis Dillon
During WW II, one of the hits of the London stage is a play about a murderer who strangles his victims. The actor who plays the strangler identifies so strongly with his part that when he receives a blow to the head during a bombing raid, he believes that he actually is the strangler. Written by
In 1945 London a kind, gentle actor Reginald Parker (John Loder) is performing in a play called "The Brighton Strangler". During an air raid he's hit on the head. When he regains consciousness he has amnesia and begins playing out his character from the play.
The plot is old now but was probably new in 1945 and it is extremely well-done. The script is fast, there's good quick direction and there are some very creepy sequences. The acting by Loder is just great--he let's you see the confusion and hatred hiding behind his very gentle exterior. He reminded me of Laird Cregar who played similar roles in "The Lodger" (1944) and "Hangover Square" (1945). My guess is that this was made to cash in on the Cregar movies (both were huge hits).
The sets are just gorgeous and there's some truly funny comic relief -- both intentional and unintentional (it's hard to keep a straight face when one character keeps saying "swell" all the time). The only bad thing is June Duprez--she's beautiful but a very poor actress.
Well worth seeing if just for Loder. Why wasn't he more well known?
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