|Index||6 reviews in total|
Gregor Stevens (Scott Brady) has 4 days shore leave. He goes to visit
his brother but cannot find him. A meeting with Yvonne (Mary Castle), a
boxing fan (Michael Balfour) and a visit to the "Gay Mask" nightclub
give him an avenue to pursue in the circumstances that are unfolding
before him. Gregor must solve the mystery before he goes back to his
ship.........and, more importantly, before a hanging takes place.....
It's a fast-paced film that gets going from the beginning. It's well acted by all and has many twists to the plot. It is just on the right side of complicated.
Its a good film to keep onto and watch again.
As some other reviewers have mentioned, THREE STEPS TO THE GALLOWS is a
highly superior British film noir which doesn't let up from beginning
to end. A twisty turny mystery style plot line throws up some familiar
tropes - it seems half of British crime films made during the 1950s
consisted of criminal enterprises utilising nightclubs as their lairs -
but runs away with them thanks to a fast pacing and a complete refusal
to deviate from the thriller aspects of the storyline.
American actor Scott Brady plays a sailor who gets some shore leave to visit his brother, only to discover that he's disappeared. He soon uncovers a sinister, conspiracy-style mystery that will lead to his brother's imminent execution, so it's a race against time to prove his innocence. Along the way he tangles with femme fatales, dogged detectives, and various henchmen, often slugging it out with the latter in some engaging fight scenes.
Brady is a slightly boring main actor but the supporting cast make up for deficiencies, with Ferdy Mayne and Michael Balfour on particularly strong form. Ballard Berkeley plays a cop and must have been one of the most typecast actors of the era. Director John Gilling, who would later direct the likes of THE REPTILE for Hammer, does a sterling job, but the real star here is Welshman Paul Erickson, whose debut script is never less than compelling.
Scott Brady plays a ship's officer.
He arrives in England and gets another officer to take his duties for a few days.
He wants to spend some time with his brother.
He discovers his brother is about to be hanged!
Scott Brady then launches his own investigation.
This flick has more twists and turns than a mud road in West Virginia!
The hero is lied to, thumped on, set up, betrayed, etc.
He also falls in love.
This is one terrific flick.
I gave it a ten.
I saw this under the title of "3 Steps to the Gallows". A better title would have been "3 Days to the Gallows," since when American seaman Scott Brady arrives in London and goes in search of his brother he finds the latter is due to be executed in three days' time for murder: he's innocent, of course. The film's scriptwriter plays the brother, and he's definitely a better writer than actor, seeming remarkably calm for someone facing imminent death for something he didn't do. John Gilling made several low-budget crime films in the 50s, and seeing this one made me want to see the others.The plot has some good twists, and there's a lot of interesting location filming. It was common practice to import minor American stars for such films, and Brady made a spirited hero, while Mary Castle, who I'd never seen before, bears a considerable resemblance to Rita Hayworth. She even sings in a nightclub, a la Gilda. The weaknesses are the way Brady wins all his fist fights (even against a professional boxer!) and the climax, in which the police turn up like the 7th Cavalry even though they had no way of knowing where the protagonists were. Very odd.
As we all know, starting in the early 1950s American mid-level 'name'
actors and actresses started to find films harder to come by here, and
any number of them ventured to England to make starring vehicles that
might have an international market based on their marquee names. George
Raft did it, as did Dane Clark, George Brent, Hillary Brooke, Lloyd
Bridges, and many others. Scott Brady did, too. Most of these were
released through Lippert and enjoyed reasonable success, and almost all
of them are eminently forgettable. Not this one, though.
This is actually a very fast-moving and action-packed thriller, with enough mysteries woven into it for two films. Brady plays a seaman who arrives in England to enjoy some time with his brother, only to learn that his brother is due to be hanged for murder a scant three days hence. Brady's rush investigation to clear him involves many characters (every one of whom is acted, as is the British wont, like it was Academy Awards time), and there are wheels within wheels within wheels. Indeed, by the time the film ends, you realize you've been subjected to more twists than most Agatha Christie novels provide, but you accept them because they are well-presented, well-written and well-acted. Unlike most such British films with an American actor 'hook', this one is slam-bang all the way, and one particular fistfight that Brady has (there are several) with a nightclub owner and three or four henchmen goes from that manager's office, through a hallway, out into the nightclub and then onto the dance floor itself. (It's kind of like a shorter fisticuffs version of the concluding SCARAMOUCHE duel.)What makes it so impressive is that Brady is doing all his own fighting and stunts and looks terrific doing so. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that this is the best starring performance I have ever seen out of Lawrence Tierney's younger brother, and he was always a decent (or better) actor, although never a major star. The female interest is provided by another American temporary ex-pat, Mary Castle, as a woman of some mystery and much beauty. (In fact, in every shot she appears in, she looks enough like a blonde Rita Hayworth to be her illegitimate sister.) The film seems to involve just about constant location shooting, in boxing arenas, gyms, restaurants, foggy-but-real streets, back alleys, and finally at some kind of big British exposition or fair, and the photography is grainy, noirish, and just plain terrific most of the time. If it is all wrapped up a little too tidily in the end, well, we never complain when Dame Agatha does the same.
I give it a high 8 rating because of the pure look of the film, the very realistic physicality of it all, the terrific character actors on display throughout, and mainly I guess, because it seems to me the very best of the dozens of such British semi-quota quickies that brought over American mid-level stars for a one-film-stand in London. Given what it was intended to be, and the somewhat brutish elan with which its intentions are accomplished, this is a very considerable achievement.
What starts out as a fairly straightforward thriller seems to become more and more complex as the film wears on.This is born out by the fact that at the end one of the characters had actually to explain the whys and wherefores,by which time I had,as you might say,lost the plot.To me though the most interesting aspect of this film was the considerable amount of location work.The trade fair at Olympia.Some of the crowd seemed quite irritated at being pushed around by the actors ,it makes you wonder if they knew that they were being filmed.Interesting to see that the first shots of the trade fair were on the film projector stands.Those dear machines which went extinct as long ago as 2012.So basically a fairly routine film.
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