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Query (1945)

Murder in Reverse (original title)
Approved | | Thriller | 22 October 1945 (UK)
Tom Masterick, a dock worker, is wrongfully convicted of a murder charge. His death sentence is commuted to a long prison term. When released as an old man, he vows to find the real killer.



(novel) (as Seamark),

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Masterick
Peter Rogers
Chili Bouchier ...
Doris Masterick
Brefni O'Rorke ...
John Slater ...
Fred Smith
Jill Masterick
Jill as a Child
Kynaston Reeves ...
Crossley King's Counsel
John Salew ...
Blake King's Counsel
Edward Rigby ...
Ben Williams ...
Ethel Coleridge ...
Mrs. Green
Maire O'Neill ...
Mrs. Moore
Scott Sanders ...
Landlord of the North Star


Tom Masterick, a dock worker, is wrongfully convicted of a murder charge. His death sentence is commuted to a long prison term. When released as an old man, he vows to find the real killer.

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Release Date:

22 October 1945 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Query  »

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Ingenious wronged-man thriller
24 June 2010 | by (England) – See all my reviews

This film has a great deal going for it, including an excellent performance from silent-era siren Chili Bouchier in the fairly thankless role of the wife, an effective child performance from Petula Clark, and a rather charming lolloping-puppy act from Jimmy Hanley in what could otherwise have been an irritating role as a none-too-successful cub reporter. There is a nail-biting (although credibility-stretching) chase which doesn't end up as we have been conditioned to expect, and an ingenious plot twist based on the original source, a short story called "Query". The flashback section also provides the spectacle of post-war production waxing nostalgic over 1930s Limehouse, with its references to the novel 'talkies', its thriving docks and its Chinese laundry.

I mainly went to see this film on account of the advertised starring role of William Hartnell, whom I have always found to give good value on screen.. Here he takes the lead in an impressive character performance which involves his playing the whole of the first half in an East End accent and the second half as a prematurely aged man combining both wizened malevolence and the vague kindness of a silver-haired uncle. Masterick is a tough act to pull off, a man obsessed and bitter, and yet still human, and Hartnell largely manages it, although I felt that his interpretation of the two scenes where the voice-over requires him to behave abnormally -- when he reads his wife's note, and when the verdict is given in the courtroom -- was unconvincing. Presumably this what was the director asked for.

Masterick's final scene with his wife (whose history is skilfully implied without ever being stated outright) is moving and effective, and the relationship between the two young lovers -- with the girl obviously being the leading light of the pair! -- is both sweet and amusing. I did feel that there were some plot holes (do neither Masterick or young Rogers ever learn who Jill really is?), chief of which is the fact that it never occurs to Masterick that his target might have changed his name... or, even more oddly, to the offender! However, overall it is an effective and atmospheric piece of entertainment that rarely rings false. One to recommend: but perhaps it might have been even better.

It is perhaps worth adding, for clarification, that there is no 'crimelord', no 'London gang' and no 'prison grapevine' in the film: the IMDb plot outline is accurate so far as it goes.

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