Bill Rogers, an American pilot taking special training in the States, gets an unauthorized hop to England to pay a surprise visit his beautiful Norwegian wife. He is devastated when he finds that she has moved out of their flat and is living a new and glamorous lifestyle entertaining a lot of men. After being knocked unconscious by an unseen assailant in her upscale West End apartment, he awakens to find his wife shot to death with his service pistol. On the run from police he persuades a young woman who runs a Salvation Army soup kitchen to believe in his innocence and help him uncover the real culprit. Although the police do not know as yet that he is in Britain, he has just 36 hours before he is declared AWOL and his identity is exposed. The trail leads to a corrupt customs official, smuggling, blackmail, and a mysterious safety deposit box. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In 1950, American producer Robert Lippert formed a business alliance with Hammer studios. Under the agreement, Lippert would provide American acting talent - frequently shop-worn stars or just supporting actors who fancied a profitable trip out of the country - while Hammer would supply the rest of the cast and the production facilities. Together they would split the profits. Famous for his concern with the bottom line, Lippert produced over 140 films between 1946 and 1955, characteristically genre pieces such as I Shot Jesse James or Rocketship XM. For the British deal, most of the films were noir-ish thrillers - and include this title.
The American noir icon Dan Duryea is the best thing in 36 Hours, which is at its strongest in the first half. He plays Major Rogers, a flyer smuggled into the country to discover what his wife has been up to during his absence away on duty. Shortly after he catches up with her, she is dead, leaving the stunned Rogers waking up next to her body with just a few hours to prove his innocence. Duryea's opening scenes, mostly played solo as he explores his wife's apartment piecing together her new relationships, are the essence of noir - an alienated man, lost in an environment where moral certitudes are missing. Unfortunately the script by Steve Miller (responsible for earlier classics such as Dead Reckoning, and Lady In The Lake) grows less interesting as it proceeds, and the final complexities are forced and unconvincing. Along the way, Duryea brings life to his relationship with Jenny (Ann Gudrin), equally as good as the unfussy woman who believes his story. Kenneth Griffith also makes impact as the weasely Slosson - a character which, on a different continent, would no doubt been of interest to Elisha Cook Jr.
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