The Big Clock (1948)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  9 April 1948 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 5,221 users  
Reviews: 62 user | 35 critic

A career oriented magazine editor finds himself on the run when he discovers his boss is framing him for murder.



(screenplay), (novel), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Earl Janoth
Steve Hagen
Rita Johnson ...
Pauline York
Louise Patterson
Harold Vermilyea ...
Don Klausmeyer
Dan Tobin ...
Ray Cordette
Bill Womack (as Henry Morgan)
Richard Webb ...
Nat Sperling
Elaine Riley ...
Lily Gold
Luis Van Rooten ...
Edwin Orlin
Lloyd Corrigan ...
Frank Orth ...
Margaret Field ...
Second Secretary


When powerful publishing tycoon Earl Janouth commits an act of murder at the height of passion, he cleverly begins to cover his tracks and frame an innocent man, whose identity he doesn't know, but who just happen to have contact with the murder victim. That man is a close associate on his magazine whom he enlists to trap this "killer" George Stroud. It's up to George to continue to "help" Janouth, to elude the police and to find proof of his innocence and Janouth's guilt. Written by Ron Kerrigan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The strangest and most savage manhunt in history!


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 April 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A nagy óra  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »


At the magazine staff meeting right after an investigator has visited Louise Patterson and gotten the name of "the blonde woman", the shadow of the boom microphone can be seen moving on the upper left of the chalkboard frame. See more »


Louise Patterson: [after George Stroud outbids her for a picture] Isn't it a pity... the wrong people always have money.
See more »


Version of No Way Out (1987) See more »


I'm in the Mood for Love
Music by Jimmy McHugh
source music heard when Pauline first meets George at the bar
See more »

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User Reviews

Good Film Noir With Fine Cast, Complicated Plot
15 May 2001 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

"The Big Clock" takes some chances with unusual characters, and with complicated and sometimes outlandish plot developments, but it holds together well to produce a generally satisfying, and always interesting, suspense film. A fine cast makes us both believe in and identify with the characters, and good direction by John Farrow keeps the film moving, and blends together what otherwise could have been a lot of incongruous plot devices.

Ray Milland is a vital part of the film's success in his role as George Stroud, the editor of a crime magazine who has an amazing talent for tracking down elusive criminals. Already caught in a conflict between his neglected wife and his domineering employer, Stroud finds himself asked to direct a search for an unknown murderer in a case where, because of a chain of circumstantial evidence, all the clues point back to himself. What the audience knows, but Stroud does not, is that the real killer is his boss, played with panache by Charles Laughton, who is obsessed with time and whose proudest creation is a gigantic clock that dominates the publishing house that he runs. The title refers literally to this clock, and perhaps metaphorically refers to the urgency faced by Milland's character as he fights against time trying to extricate himself from his troubles. Milland nicely underplays all of this, and communicates his dilemmas with a lot of credibility.

The supporting cast is an important part of the film, as they must bring life and credibility to a series of oddball plot elements, and they are all quite good. Especially noteworthy is Elsa Lanchester's performance as an eccentric artist whose paintings become one of the clues to the crime. Lanchester is simply wonderful in her scenes, and the movie would be worth watching over again for those alone.

"The Big Clock" is a good example of a "film noir", and will be most enjoyed by those who are fans of the way films of the genre were made in their heyday. But it would also be a good choice for anyone who likes crime/mystery stories and who is willing to look at the way such films were made in an earlier era. After watching "The Big Clock", you might want to see more of them.

32 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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