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Time Without Pity (1957)

 -  Drama | Crime | Mystery  -  March 1957 (UK)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 468 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 8 critic

Alec Graham is sentenced to death for the murder of his girlfriend Jennie, with whom he spent a weekend at the English country home of the parents of his friend Brian Stanford. Alec's ... See full summary »

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Title: Time Without Pity (1957)

Time Without Pity (1957) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
David Graham
Ann Todd ...
Honor Stanford
...
Robert Stanford
Paul Daneman ...
Brian Stanford
...
Jeremy Clayton
...
Alec Graham
Renee Houston ...
Mrs. Harker
...
Vickie Harker
Richard Wordsworth ...
Maxwell - the MP
George Devine ...
Barnes - the Editor
...
Agnes Cole
Ernest Clark ...
Under-Secretary - Home Office (as Ernest Clarke)
...
Prison Chaplain
Hugh Moxey ...
Prison Governor
Dickie Henderson ...
Comedian
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Storyline

Alec Graham is sentenced to death for the murder of his girlfriend Jennie, with whom he spent a weekend at the English country home of the parents of his friend Brian Stanford. Alec's father, David Graham, a not-so-successful writer and alcoholic who has neglected his son in the past, flies in from Canada to visit his son on death row. Alec repudiates his father's attempts for a final reconciliation. David Graham, convinced of his son's innocence and, despite his preoccupation with himself and his own alcoholism, mounts a last-ditch effort to find the true murderer in the 24 hours remaining until the planned execution. Graham encounters the wealthy and famous car manufacturer Robert Stanford, tyrant at home and in the office and an apparent womanizer, Stanford's young, curiously troubled wife Honar, their ill-at- ease son Brian, himself disturbed by his parents' relationship, and Vicky Harker, a young, brainless secretary at Stanford's factory who has been climbing up the career ... Written by freddy-11

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Crime | Mystery

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Details

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Release Date:

March 1957 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

24 tuntia armonaikaa  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Chandos replaced Felix Felton See more »

Goofs

Camera crew is reflected in the door of Clayton's car is it pulls up at the prison with Graham. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Everyone has a secret. It's not always written in the face.
15 April 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Time Without Pity is directed by Joseph Losey and adapted to screenplay by Ben Barzman from the Emlyn Williams play Someone Waiting. It stars Michael Redgrave, Ann Todd, Leo McKern, Paul Daneman, Peter Cushing, Alec McCowen, Renee Houston and Lois Maxwell. Music is by Tristram Cary and cinematography by Freddie Francis.

David Graham (Redgrave) is a recovering alcoholic who comes out of the sanitarium to try and prove his son is innocent of murder. His son, Alec (McCowen), is to be hanged in 24 hours for the slaying of his girlfriend. David finds he is constantly met with brick walls and his sobriety is tested at every turn, but salvation may lie with the suspicious Stanford family...

Blacklisted in America, Joseph Losey went to the UK and made a number of films under various pseudonyms, Time Without Pity marked the first time he would put his own name to the production. It's also a film that stands tall as another of Losey's excellent British offerings.

Losey and his team do not make a murder mystery, from the off we see who the killer is and it's not young Alec Graham. This is a device that in the wrong hands has often over the years proved costly, where viewers looking for suspense have been sorely short changed. What happens here is that we are privy to an investigation by a man in misery, battling his demons as he frantically searches for redemption.

Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

Shunned by his estranged son, who would rather be hanged for a crime he didn't commit than accept his "waster" father's help - that might in turn give him false hope, David Graham is a haunted being who is closer to solving the case than he knows. This brings us viewers tantalisingly into the play, we know who it is, we can see how they react around David and how the other players who are hiding something also behave from scene to scene. The script never looses focus, it constantly keeps a grip on the tension as the clock ticks down on the Graham's.

Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

Losey and the great Freddie Francis are a dream pairing, a meeting of minds who could produce striking lighting compositions and scenes of other worldly distinction. Time Without Pity is full of such film making smarts. Time is a key, obviously, clocks feature constantly, including one classic era film noir extended scene as David visits a potential witness who has her home filled with alarm clocks! Alarm clocks that keep going off at regular intervals, thus putting an already twitchy and sweaty David Graham further on the edge of his nerves.

Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

One scene enforces that on the page there's an anti-capital punishment message, but as a bunch of suits sit in a room digressing about the ethics of it all etc, Losey and Francis fill the room with stripped shadows filtered via the led patterned windows, it's that what you remember, not a social message. Gorgeous and potent all in one. Mirrors feature as well, with one elevator shot superb, while the bittersweet ending deserves better credit than it got at the time of release. Certainly noir lovers will enjoy it as much as they enjoy some other kinks in the story narrative.

Over the top of it all is a brilliant musical score by Tristram Cary (all his 50s work is worth checking out), three years before Herrmann brought bloodied strings to Psycho, Cary deals from an earlier deck of cards with string menace supreme, while his ticking clock motif is a pearler. Redgrave is terrific, a sweaty mass of fragility, while Todd, Cushing and Houston (wonderful) bring class to their respective characters. Losey's misstep is in not reigning in McKern, who is way too animated throughout, but such is the strength of everything elsewhere, it can't hurt the picture at all. Oh and look out for future Miss. Moneypenny Lois Maxwell, the little minx.

Now widely available on DVD with a good print, Time Without Pity demands to be better known. 9/10


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