This is a superb police detection drama, with Jack Hawkins as the warm-hearted focus of a rather complex crime saga. The best supporting performance is by Ursula Howells, who brilliantly conveys neurotic menace and desperation in just a few scenes. The young Ian Bannen is killed off very quickly, but already in this early appearance we can see his superior qualities working on screen. This 1956 British film is clearly an attempt to emulate the 1940s and 1950s Hollywood films such as 'The House on 92nd Street', directed by Henry Hathaway, since it also portrays stolid and patient police work, shown in loving detail. There are no 'noir' elements to this drama, and the crime is just crime, with no psychology or angst. The plot has some intriguing novelties. In the first safe robbery at the beginning of the film, the thief remains at the scene of the crime and pretends to be a night watchman, lets the police in, shows sympathy and bewilderment, and then makes his escape after they have gone. The whole case really is a brain-teaser, and well worth viewing by any chess player or detective enthusiast. It is a superior British film of its genre.
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