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Jim Ackland, who suffers from a head injury sustained in a bus crash, is the chief suspect in a murder hunt, when a girl that he has just met is found dead on the local common, and he has no alibi for the time she was killed. Written by
Mike Wilson <Mike.Wilson6@btinternet.com>
John Mills is the "October Man" in this small 1947 British film costarring Joan Greenwood.
Mills plays Jim Ackland, a man involved in a tragic train accident that killed the child of a friend (actually played by Juliet Mills) he was returning to town. He suffers a fractured skull and is hospitalized for a year, as he has developed some brain damage. He blames himself for the accident and is haunted by it. It's actually not clear if he has actual brain damage - he acts perfectly normal and is totally functional - or has developed psychological problems. He leaves the hospital, takes a room at a boarding house and gets a job. His neighbor in the house is a pretty young woman (Joan Greenwood) who apparently is always having money trouble and possibly traded either downright sex or nookies for money with another resident of the house, Mr. Peachy (Edward Chapman). Meanwhile, she's seeing a married man. So one could say her life is complicated. Attempting to break the ties that bind with Mr. not-so-Peachy, she puts the touch on Jim for 30 pounds, and he writes her a check. The next day she's found dead in the Commons, the crumpled check nearby. Suspicion falls on Jim because of the check, the fact that he wasn't home that night she was killed and because of idle gossip started by Mr. Peachey. Meanwhile, Jim has fallen in love with his coworker's sister; though his old terrors return, he realizes that he needs to keep fighting and clear himself of the murder.
This is a good movie with a superb performance by John Mills and real British atmosphere which lends itself to the story and bumps up the suspense. As someone correctly stated, it is sort of a film noir but really more psychological in nature, which was all the rage after World War II. Very entertaining.
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