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The Silk Noose (1948)

Noose (original title)
Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 19 July 1950 (USA)
Sugiani, a black-market racketeer in London, following World War II, is amassing a vast fortune until Linda Medbury, an American newspaper reporter, learns about him and his operation. She ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Derek Farr ...
Capt. Jumbo Hyde
Insp. Kendall
Bar Gorman
Ruth Nixon ...
Annie Foss
Carol van Derman ...
Mercia Lane (as Carol Van Derman)
John Slater ...
Pudd'n Bason
Leslie Bradley ...
Reginald Tate ...
Edward Rigby ...
John Salew ...
Greasy Anderson
Robert Adair ...
Sgt. Brooks
Hay Petrie ...
Uriel Porter ...


Sugiani, a black-market racketeer in London, following World War II, is amassing a vast fortune until Linda Medbury, an American newspaper reporter, learns about him and his operation. She wages a crusade against Sugiani, and enlists the aid of her fiancée, 'Jumbo' Hyde, a former British Commando captain. Sugiania tries to buy her off but fails, and then threatens her life. Linda and Hyde get a gymnasium operator to lend them some fighters to storm Sugiani's headquarters. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


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Release Date:

19 July 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Silk Noose  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ruth Nixon receives an "introducing" credit. See more »


Featured in Journey Through French Cinema (2016) See more »


Written by Jose Norman
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User Reviews

Fast-paced postwar British crime comedy captivates with a spunky and stunning Carole Landis and a Machiavellian, motor-mouth mobster
28 May 2015 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Although visiting American actress Carole Landis gets top billing in the 1948 British crime thriller, "The Silk Noose" (AKA "The Noose"), it's the much underrated English actor, Nigel Patrick ("The League of Gentlemen," "The Sound Barrier," "Raintree County") who steals this movie.

From his very first appearance yelping cheerful insults into a telephone, Nigel Patrick takes command of this unusual British crime feature, as a flip and glib Cockney gangster who is part conniving Phil Silvers (think "Sgt. Bilko"), part sleazy Michael Palin (think suavely snide East End hoodlum Luigi Vercotti in "Monty Python"), and part fast-talking James Cagney (think "One, Two, Three") .

So wacky and so unexpected and so hilarious is Patrick's maniacal insincerity that you may drum your fingers impatiently during the few scenes that he's not on camera being cheerfully devious -- however action-packed some of those scenes may be. (There is considerable action in "The Silk Noose," some of it nail-biting -- this, after all, is a near-noir crime story with an alarming body count -- but on the whole it's comic-book roughhousing, best captioned by "Pow!" " Bam!" and "Oomph!")

Written by Richard Llewellyn ("How Green Was My Valley," "None But the Lonely Heart"), "The Silk Noose" homes in on "spivs," British racketeers of the late 1940s , grown fat on wartime black market profits, and now still doing their bit for Britain by blithely counterfeiting, smuggling, and, for all we know, loitering and littering. (It may take you back to Jules Dassin's more earnest, better-known "Night and the City," with Richard Widmark, which came along two years later.)

In this particular case, the local don, Sugiani (Joseph Calleia), prefers to perform his perfidy out of a posh Soho nightclub that features très chic chanteuses and très cher champagne. Looking like a Satanic Cesar Romero, Maltese-American actor Joseph Calleia cheerfully overacts, shaking his part until it cries "Basta!" Both sinister and jovial at the same time, Calleia's gangster could be seen as a stand-in for Mussolini – posturing, threatening and begging for adoration simultaneously.

Make no mistake, for all his charm and over-the-top grand opera posturing, Sugiani can be a very dangerous man, particularly when issuing orders to his very own Heinrich Himmler, a spine-chilling personal assassin known as "Barber" (the great Dickensian character actor, Hay Petrie), an unctuous, leering Claude Rains-clone who scuttles around a bleak London like a human cockroach, using a silk stocking ("the noose") as his preferred means of dispatch.

Nigel Patrick's Bar Gorman is Sugiani's right-hand man and/or partner. He could also be a stand-in for Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, particularly when barking orders over his huge desktop intercom or trying to wheedle favorable newspaper publicity. The relationship of the two crooks is complicated, and at times the two suddenly snarl at each other like strange dogs passing on the street, then as quickly make up. It's an insane partnership made in Hell, and the two men, continuously on edge, are a fascinating team, blending affinity, iniquity and irrationality.

Into this hidey-hole of Axis-style moray eels merrily steps the Dior-dressed figure of Carole Landis, an American fashion editor working for a London newspaper (don't ask). Dressed to the nines in every shot, Landis, as a brash and beautiful career girl, puts across a delightful sassiness as she investigates a grisly London murder that isn't getting the attention she feels it deserves.

As expected, the trail leads to the bad, bad Sugiani, but, surrounded by his thuggish hirelings, he's apparently invulnerable. However, in a twist reminiscent of the creepy Peter Lorre classic, "M", the muscle-bound laborers of London's docks and markets are enrolled in a vigilante lynch mob, the lumpenproletariat out to take back their streets, and a rousing if unconvincing version of class warfare breaks out as the forces of Good, wearing football jerseys, battle the forces of Evil, in dinner jackets.

With all this, "The Silk Noose" would still be just another dated British "spiv" movie -- though with a few comedic grace notes -- but for Nigel Patrick's virtuoso performance and these three significant particulars :

1. Stanley Holloway, the beloved Alfred P. Doolittle of "My Fair Lady," plays a very well-dressed Scotland Yard inspector who may be on the take, and does it up well. He has a surprisingly commanding presence as a top cop and uses his authoritative voice to get your attention and hold it.

2. The director was Edmond Gréville, who had apprenticed with the legendary Frenchman Abel Gance ("Napoleon") . Besides pacing the movie with fast rhythmic editing, he offers up a boutique of superimposed images, extreme close-ups, artistic camera angles and surprising staging, so you don't dare blink for missing some exciting shot or experimental exposure. (For instance, he shoots one nightclub scene through the multifaceted glass top of a perfume bottle -- giving it the vertiginous viewpoint of a drunken housefly.) There's also an unexpected degree of eroticism, which marked many of the films of this half-French half-British director.

3. "The Silk Noose" was to be the next-to-the-last movie of the tragic Carole Landis, who had died by the time of the film's release in August 1948. A delightful actress with unrealized potential, she had worn herself out with endless USO tours: she had traveled more than 100,000 miles during the war, had spent more time visiting troops than any other actress, and had even caught a nasty case of malaria. By the time she killed herself at the age of 29, she had been married five times. Under still mysterious circumstances, her body was discovered by her married boyfriend, actor Rex Harrison , who, almost two decades later, was to appear with Stanley Holloway in " My Fair Lady", a triumph for them both.

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