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John H. Auer
This English version of Henri Decoin's L'Homme de Londres - both based on a Simenon novel - outperformed Brighton Rock at the English box office back in 1947 and some 60 years later it holds up much better than BR if only because it's less risible - no Dickie Attenborough heading up a gang of pensioners here, just Bobbie Newton personifying decency under threat and a choice group of supporting actors aiding and abetting. Margaret Barton who was a memorable Beryl in Brief Encounter weighs in with more solid work as Newton's daughter whilst the female lead, Simone Simon more or less phones in her role from La Bete Humaine with a passable English accent. Charles Victor, Irene Handl, William Hartnell, Kathleen Harrison, Leslie Dwyer and Gladys Henson are all solid and the film is only let down by the odd stretching of credibility - Barton picks the exact moment that Hartnell is passing to give Newton's address loudly and clearly to Simon and Hartnell finds it impossible to get out of a locked shed, albeit ramshackle. On balance a reasonably satisfying rarely screened movie.
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