|Index||4 reviews in total|
This is a neat, entertaining and witty British movie from the 1950's which is very much enhanced by an excellent lead performance by Derrick De Marney as Slim Callaghan. Based on a Peter Cheyney novel, and featuring his main character of Callaghan, the film moves along at a brisk pace, and the plot, which is quite involved, never sags and retains the viewers interest all the way. This is helped in no small way by a sharp and vibrant script. Although other actors have portrayed Slim Callaghan, there is little doubt that De Marney is by far the best. His laconic and downbeat style fits the character perfectly, and it is a pity that it was never put to further good purpose. In many ways, he provides a perfect comparison to similar American-style gumshoes in movies from the 40's and 50's, in particular. The scene in the nightclub, when he is tempted by singer Adrienne Corri, is a joy of deadpan expression and he certainly carries this film along in a thoroughly expert way. You are left with the distinct impression that this is how the author imagined his main character to be. All in all, a film well worth catching and one that should gain a wider audience.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Derek de Marney is Peter Cheyney's tough British private eye Slim Callaghan who in this "pilot" for a proposed Callaghan movie series, requires him to solve the mystery behind the death of a much-hated rich man. Callagham, a fictional British private detective in the American "hard boiled" mode, was the central character in several popular Peter Cheyney novels, in a stage play by Gerald Verner, and in the 1948 movie programmer UNEASY TERMS (also available below), which starred Michael Rennie. Directed by Charles Saunders (JUNGLE STREET, THE GENTLE TRAP, KILL HER GENTLY, BEHIND THE HEADLINES, NAKED FURY, THE NARROWING CIRCLE, A TIME TO KILL, THE END OF THE LINE, DANGER BY MY SIDE).
Derrick de Marney plays private detective Slim Callaghan in this fast
paced British mystery. Callaghan is a bright, fast talking fellow, but
still his detective agency has fallen on hard times. So when a young
socialite drops in at his office close to midnight and drops 500 pounds
sterling on his desk he jumps at the case. The heiress wants Callaghan
to protect her as she fears her wealthy stepfather may be murdered and
that the guilty person will implicate her.
Callaghan smells something fishy right away, but can't turn down the cash. When he learns that the stepfather has already been murdered he begins to suspect his client may be the killer. Still, he works hard and quickly to gather information. He probes all angles and doesn't miss a chance to fatten his own wallet at every opportunity.
This is the second film based on the character created by Peter Cheyney. The first film is Uneasy Terms, with Michael Rennie playing Slim Callaghan.
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