Every few months I am compelled to re-watch this gem. I'm blessed at my age to forget enough of the plot to make the story fresh each time. Not that this would matter to me. I am time and again captivated by its fast-moving and evolving plot, a main character that darts through the story like the Mad Hattercompelling me to chase after hima brilliant supporting cast, wonderful black-and-white photography, ace direction, scads of original wit, and its captivating musical theme. Now about that Derrick De Marney: the man is second to none in giving flesh and voice to the irrepressible, seedy, but endearing Mr. Callaghan. The sleazier de Marney plays his role the more lovable he becomes. De Marney delivers the most disingenuous assurances with deadpan sincerity and utters in driest tones more implied meanings than an oracle in an uncooperative mood. Callaghan ceaselessly prods my curiosity until I ask, 'Where now goeth this man?'and wonder what next he'll draw from a sleeve. The entire cast is impeccable. In his only and short appearance, Roger Williams, as Bellamy Meraulton, is as spectacular as to steal more than his share of the scene from de Marneyno small feat. None can be faulted for turning in a weak performance, from Michael Balfour as the coffee stall-keeper, to Trevor Reid as the inspector, to Belinda Lee as maid Jenny Appleby. Harriette Johns is divine and not enough can be said for Larry Burns as Darky. To the end, de Marney holds his character and Miss Johns captivates. There are forgettable movies and movies we forget; bad movies or splendid ones worthy of recalling. There are others which were tops in their time but cannot hold up in a later era. "Meet Mr. Callaghan" was tops, is tops, and shows not a spot of age. Even Eric Spears' theme is as delightful as when it had been initially released. I urge strongly that you meet Mr. Callaghan.
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