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David Preston, a bank official goes missing for 24 hours and has no memory of the lost time, but when he learns that the steward of his local club has implicated him in a robbery, and has been found murdered. Preston finds he has no alibi, and the police want him to account for the lost hours. Written by
Ralph Richardson, who both directs and acts in this film, has taken a simple story that depicts a short period in the life of a middle-class couple in post-war England whose routine is suddenly disrupted by the memory lapse of the husband. The story is brought to life by the acting of the three main actors - Richarson and Margaret Leighton as the couple and the medical doctor, Jack Hawkins.
A veteran of World War II (1939-45), the dutiful husband is stricken with an anxiety attack that causes him to relive his days in battle. When this mental episode is over, he cannot remember what happened for a full 24-hour period. Husband and wife are perplexed and anxious by this sudden turn of events. They turn to their understanding family doctor for an explanation. The doctor, Jack Hawkins, is sympathetic and not overly worried but eager to find out the source of the problem.
As it turns out, a theft and murder occurred that seem to implicate the husband or so the couple fears. Lies and cover-ups complicate the matter and the couple become so upset that they make things worse for themselves. The couple are so used to their routine that a sudden and unexplained twist becomes exaggerated. The story presents us with a puzzle and the reaction of two decent but somewhat docile human beings, who feel they will be unfairly targeted by the authorities. However, the police go about their work very calmly and before long everything is explained.
The movie is a throwback to a time when ordinary people enjoyed simple pleasures like going to their club, or taking in the "pictures" and growing their chrysanthemums in the adjoining greenhouse garden...so very British.
It is these very ordinary people that I have a great sympathy and admiration for in our often self-serving world. Nothing extraordinary about the movie or the couple but almost 60 years on, the acting still makes it a delight to watch.
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