7.7/10
5,924
67 user 39 critic

The Big Clock (1948)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 9 April 1948 (USA)
When powerful publishing tycoon Earl Janoth 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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Set-Up (1949)
Crime | Film-Noir | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Because aging boxer Bill Thompson always lost his past fights, his corrupt manager, without telling Thompson, takes bribes from a betting gangster, to ensure Thompson's pre-arranged dive-loss in the next match.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias
Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White
Criss Cross (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An armored truck driver and his lovely ex-wife conspire with a gang to have his own truck robbed on the route.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo, Dan Duryea
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The rise and fall of Stanton Carlisle, a mentalist whose lies and deceit prove to be his downfall.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray
Certificate: Passed Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An embittered, vengeful POW stalks his former commanding officer who betrayed his men's planned escape attempt from a Nazi prison camp.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Van Heflin, Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh
The Glass Key (1942)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A crooked politician finds himself being accused of murder by a gangster from whom he refused help during a re-election campaign.

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Brian Donlevy
Certificate: Passed Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An ex-bomber pilot is suspected of murdering his unfaithful wife.

Director: George Marshall
Stars: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, William Bendix
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

When assassin Philip Raven shoots a blackmailer and his beautiful female companion dead, he is paid off in marked bills by his treasonous employer who is working with foreign spies.

Director: Frank Tuttle
Stars: Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Robert Preston
Phantom Lady (1944)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A beautiful secretary risks her life to try to find the elusive woman who may prove her boss didn't murder his selfish wife.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Franchot Tone, Ella Raines, Alan Curtis
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Detective Philip Marlowe encounters a variety of characters while checking on why Leslie Murdock stole a rare doubloon from his mother.

Director: John Brahm
Stars: George Montgomery, Nancy Guild, Conrad Janis
Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Det. Sgt. Mark Dixon wants to be something his old man wasn't: a guy on the right side of the law. But Dixon's vicious nature will get the better of him.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Gary Merrill
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Stephen Neale has just been released from an asylum during World War 2 in England when he stumbles on a deadly Nazi spy plot by accident, and tries to stop it.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Ray Milland, Marjorie Reynolds, Carl Esmond
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Earl Janoth
...
...
Steve Hagen
...
Pauline York
...
Louise Patterson
Harold Vermilyea ...
Don Klausmeyer
Dan Tobin ...
Ray Cordette
...
Bill Womack (as Henry Morgan)
...
Nat Sperling
Elaine Riley ...
Lily Gold
Luis Van Rooten ...
Edwin Orlin
...
McKinley
...
Burt
Margaret Field ...
Second Secretary
Edit

Storyline

When powerful publishing tycoon Earl Janoth 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 happens 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" Janoth, to elude the police and to find proof of his innocence and Janoth's guilt. Written by Ron Kerrigan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Unanimously acclaimed as the super-suspense hit! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 April 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A nagy óra  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A 'fin' is $5 in American slang. See more »

Goofs

Killer Earl Janoth (Laughton) dispatches his employee Steve Hagen (Macready) to the crime scene to eliminate any evidence connecting him to victim Pauline York (Johnson). Hagen alters the broken clock time as well as removing the murder weapon and misc.incriminating evidence.George Stroud (Milland) subsequently enters the York apartment and changes the clock time again. What both fail to see and leave behind is the most incriminating evidence of all. A photo of the real killer, Earl Janoth, prominently displayed in the apartment. See more »

Quotes

Louise Patterson: Oh Penelope, you forgot to put away your rollerskates.
See more »

Connections

Version of Police Python 357 (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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.


37 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?