6.6/10
207
13 user 6 critic

Cloudburst (1951)

Approved | | Mystery | July 1951 (UK)
A Canadian World War II veteran working for the British Foreign Office scours England for the killer who murdered his wife.

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(story and screenplay), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Carol Graham
Colin Tapley ...
Inspector Davis
Sheila Burrell ...
Lorna Dawson
Harold Lang ...
Mickie Fraser / Kid Python
Mary Germaine ...
Peggy Reece
Thomas Heathcote ...
Jackie
George Woodbridge ...
Sergeant Ritchie
Lyn Evans ...
Chuck Peters
Edith Sharpe ...
Mrs. Reece
James Mills ...
Thompson
Daphne Anderson ...
Kate
Edward Lexy ...
Cardew
Noel Howlett ...
Johnson
...
Carter
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Storyline

A Canadian World War II veteran working for the British Foreign Office scours England for the killer who murdered his wife.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on play | See All (1) »

Taglines:

He had murdered once! NOW he was ready to strike again ...and no one could catch him but HIMSELF! (UK poster) See more »

Genres:

Mystery

Certificate:

Approved

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

July 1951 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first Hammer film to be made at Bray Studios. See more »

Goofs

Near the beginning of the movie, Inspector Davis asks someone from his office what a "cryptographer" is. It is inconceivable that a Scotland Yard Inspector wouldn't know that. See more »

Quotes

John Graham: [looks at the crossword his wife has been doing] Well... you've filled in nine words... You must have been here for hours.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The World of Hammer: Hammer (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
My hatred would overwhelm me like a cloudburst.
11 October 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Cloudburst is written and directed by Francis Searle and adapted from the novel by Leo Marks. It stars Robert Preston, Elizabeth Sellars, Colin Tapley, Sheila Burrell, Harold Lang, Mary Germaine, George Woodbridge and Edith Sharpe. Music is by Frank Spencer and cinematography by Walter J. Harvey.

Preston plays John Graham, a Canadian World War II veteran working for the British Foreign Office who trawls England looking for the two hit and run killers who callously murdered his pregnant wife.

Violent, grim and utterly wonderful! Cloudburst is the sort of British noir just crying out to be discovered by more classic film fans.

London 1946 is the backdrop, a changing post war landscape, and we are introduced to John and Elizabeth Graham, both war vets, and in Elizabeth's case, a survivor of torture at the hands of the Gestapo. These are two tough characters without doubt, but the love between them positively bristles on the screen, it feels genuine, it is touching and Searle does a great job of building up the bond between the two before tragedy strikes and sends John Graham on a mission from which he doesn't care if he returns.

Everything's dark isn't it?

John is ex-forces trained and a specialist in cryptography (medal winner for bravery), he not only has the skills for tracking people down, he also has friends willing to do anything for him. We are left in no doubt that he is admired by his ex-army buddies, they would run through brick walls for him, while Carol's family adore him and obviously share his grief. The police are led by intrepid Inspector Davis (Tapley), who in a delicious kink in the narrative seeks out the help of John to catch John himself!

You killed the three of us that night...

With Leo Marks being a real servant of WWII as head of the Special Operations Executive, you can easily grasp the narrative sting involving the horrors of war and post war survivors who returned battered and bruised but unbowed. Further thematic thrust comes by way of vengeance and the perfect noir area where moral killings come to the fore. John Graham becomes an obsessed man, a dangerous weapon who will stop at nothing to achieve his aims, his fall back option should the need arise is a cyanide pill pinned under his jacket collar.

When you're being tortured, remember the first lie's the most important. You may never get a chance to tell another.

As Harvey photographs it in moody black and whites, Searle adds a doom laded atmosphere with close ups, where sweat, smoke and pain are thrust to the front of the screen. The fights are well staged, a torture scene excellent because it seeps with menace without having to hit us in the face, and in Lorna Dawson (Burrell) we have one cold bitch who leaves an indelible impression with the minimum amount of screen time. Cast are great, especially Preston, while Spencer's score dovetails smartly with the changing tones of the plot.

Codes, both moral and cryptic, come crashing together in a must see for anyone interested in British film noir. 8.5/10


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