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Pretty Molly Lucian enlists the reluctant aid of psychologist Felix Milne in treating her potentially homicidal husband Adam, who refuses to see a "real" psychiatrist. Traumatized in a Japanese prison camp, Adam proves to be on the verge of severe schizophrenia. In his risky struggle to help Adam, Felix finds his none-too-functional home life deteriorating, and is unable to help himself as he helps others. The situation rushes headlong to a suspenseful climax... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
This is an insanely underrated film, faithfully screenplayed by Nigel Balchin from his engrossing and subtle novel of the same name. After I saw the film back in the 80's I trawled the pre-internet second hand bookshops to read as many of his other works as I could, including The Small Back Room, Fall Of The Sparrow, Sort Of Traitors, Sundry Creditors, and others more or less excellent too but none quite up to the standards here.
Non-medically trained psycho-analyst Felix Milne is involved with two practices (one paying and one for the poor) two women (one his wife one the woman he thinks he loves) and two important patients (one a potentially violent schizo and one himself). The schizo's story is prised out under hypnosis, while the shrink's story is prised out through events. And as usual where human emotions are rampant events spiral out of control to an unguessable outcome. Two points: there's more of a story going on underneath the main story, there are many sub-dramas going on; and I think along with Obsession the film most perfectly captures the post War zeitgeist of a London pulling itself together again. In addition to a good story and good acting there's some splendid photographic framing and atmospheric homely scenes to mull over, although the washed out copy I just saw didn't really do it full justice UK Channel 4 used to screen a decent copy so hopefully that will resurface someday. It's a pity the main character had to become a Canadian but it was probably more convincing than acidic Burgess Meredith playing an Englishman! Kieron Moore was a bit more wooden than he needed to be, however Dulcie Gray was so charming as Milne's long-suffering wife she was almost a extra diversion.
Some people might deplore the lack of grittiness, sordidness, sex and yobbishness so it's not for them - although there is one violent scene it would be handled far more graphically in colour hd cgi nowadays. It's a film that's obviously old-fashioned (as everything is sooner or later), wordy with people apparently with marbles in their mouths, thoughtful and thought-provoking on simultaneously simple and deep levels. I notice that at present there are no second opinions available on IMDb, that's because it's clearly an excellent and worthy film it'd be madness to dis.
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