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"Desperate Moment" (1953) is a Britnoir thriller. A big plus for it is the many night and dark scenes, creating an atmosphere of peril, which is exactly what besets star Dirk Bogarde. A former resistance fighter, he confessed to a crime he didn't commit in order to save his buddies, one of whom had lied to him about the death of his lover Anna (Mai Zetterling). Later, having learned that she's alive, he escapes and seeks the killer, unknown to him. He's a man on the run who desperately is looking for his old buddies, none of whom wants to help him because they had in those years raided a medical supply depot in which a soldier was killed. Bogarde hooks up with Zetterling who helps him out. Zetterling whispers too much for my taste, and that combined with the usual less than sterling British sound track made me turn the volume up. I watched a very good VHS copy. This movie seems not to be out on DVD.
The supporting cast includes some well-known actors: Theodore Bikel, Albert Lieven and Philip Friend. Bikel can always handle a weak man role. Lieven can always provide suave menace. Friend can show a stern unfriendliness. Fritz Wendhausen, lesser known, injects some cynical depth to the proceedings. Walter Gotell has a small supporting role; years later, this balding actor would be a notable presence in some James Bond movies like "From Russia with Love".
There is a fair amount of tension and suspense, and I've seen this movie about 3 times. This time around, it seemed to me that the directing was not very inventive and the stars rather compensated for this by injecting a feverish emotion into some scenes. I think the IMDb rating is about right. I like the photography best, and it includes some scenes in bombed out areas at night. The man on the run works well as does the search and encounters with the supporting cast. The romantic angle between Bogarde and Zetterling doesn't really click.
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