7.2/10
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A Voice in the Night (1946)

Wanted for Murder (original title)
Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 2 November 1946 (USA)
The son of a Victorian hangman is driven insane by thoughts of his father's profession. The young man emulates his father by strangling young women. He then meets and falls in love with a ... See full summary »

Writers:

(stage play), (stage play) (as Terence De Marney) | 5 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Dulcie Gray ...
Derek Farr ...
Roland Culver ...
Chief Insp. Conway
...
Sgt. Sullivan
Barbara Everest ...
Mrs. Colebrooke
Bonar Colleano ...
Cpl. Nick Mappolo
Jenny Laird ...
Jeannie McLaren
Kathleen Harrison ...
Florrie
Bill Shine ...
Det. Ellis
Viola Lyel ...
Mabel Cooper
John Salew ...
Det. Walters
John Ruddock ...
Glover
Edna Wood ...
Miss Kemp
George Carney ...
Boat Rental Agent
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Storyline

The son of a Victorian hangman is driven insane by thoughts of his father's profession. The young man emulates his father by strangling young women. He then meets and falls in love with a woman but can he suppress his urge to kill her ? Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 November 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Voice in the Night  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was first telecast in Los Angeles Thursday 28 January 1954 on KTLA (Channel 5) and in New York City Sunday 15 August 1954 on WCBS (Channel 2). In San Francisco it made its television debut Friday 10 June 1955 on KPIX (Channel 5). See more »

Goofs

After a handkerchief is discovered near a murder victim, an inspector from Scotland Yard tries to track down the owner via the laundry mark on it. The next scene shows a commercial laundryman carrying a wicker laundry basket into a home. Outside the home, the laundry basket bears the number "T 31". Upon entering the home the laundry basket bears the number "T 14". See more »

Soundtracks

A Voice in the Night
Lyrics by Mischa Spoliansky
Music by Mischa Spoliansky (uncredited)
Sung by Elizabeth Webb
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Just Call Whitehall 1212
25 January 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Wanted for Murder is directed by Lawrence Huntington and adapted to screenplay by Emeric Pressburger, Rodney Ackland, Barbara Everest and Maurice Cowan from the play by Terence De Marney and Percy Robinson. It stars Eric Portman, Dulcie Gray, Derek Farr, Roland Culver and Stanley Holloway. Music is by Mischa Spoliansky and cinematography by Mutz Greenbaum.

Nifty little thriller noir this, basically it finds Portman as the sinister Victor James Colebrook, a man with murderous instincts born out by bad seed lineage in his family tree. Can intrepid Chief Inspector Conway (Culver) nail his man before he kills yet again? Imperative since Victor has latched onto Anne Fielding (Gray), and although he is in love with her, he doesn't know how long he can contain his blood lust.

Thought to be influenced by a real life serial killer, Huntington's movie is very Hitchcockian in tone. Story unfolds by night in a London of dimly lighted foggy streets and dense shadowed parks, and by day it's the hustle and bustle of the city that provides a backdrop of false normalcy. As the tormented Victor goes about his way, leading his double life as a cunning member of society who dotes on his mother – and that of a strangler of women – the makers ensure the surroundings suit the persona.

A chapter of the story set at a carnival pulses with unease, a visit to a wax museum really gets to the heart of the evil, a murder sequence that is off camera strikes all the right terrifying notes, and a quite brilliant passage that sees witnesses come face to face with the killer in Conway's office is superbly performed by all involved. Then there is the finale that plays out at night (naturally) at the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park. Wonderful!

Portman (A Canterbury Tale/Dear Murderer) was a British treasure, an actor whose career begs for reappraisal by classic film fans. Here he is right on the money as the complex sociopath who detests what he has become and even dangles clues for the police to follow. Yet he also slips easily into society with a measured calmness that is rather chilling. Portman quite simply is excellent. As are Culver and Holloway as the sort of coppers Britain could do with having more of these days!

With Pressburger as part of the writing team it's no surprise to find the script tight and the dialogue snappy, Huntington (The Upturned Glass) and Greenbaum (Night and the City) never miss the chance to accentuate the psychological tremors by way of smart visuals, and Spoliansky's music is devilishly spectral like. It probably could have been shorn of ten minutes and the Dulcie Gray/Derek Farr romance gets a little twee at times, but this is well worth checking out and deserves to be better known. 8/10


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