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When an attractive young girl is murdered, suspicion falls on several members of the local tennis club. It falls to Police Inspector Halloran to sort out all the red herrings, and finally after a confrontation at the top of the local church spire, arrest the culprit. Another fascinating look at what life was like in Britain during the 50's, Written by
A competent, reasonably entertaining but ultimately unmemorable thriller
"Town on Trial" is the kind of film that is simply not made these days. I imagine it is the sort of thing that formed part of the staple repertoire of B-movies that were shown in cinemas in the days when filmgoers were treated to an appetiser before the main feature was aired. Such films were usually unpretentious, workmanlike dramas that provided solid but unmemorable entertainment to get patrons in the mood for the (hopefully) more sophisticated fare that was to follow. "Town on Trial" is a good example of that kind of film.
The plot concerns the investigation into the murder of a femme fatale in the commuter-belt town of Oakley Park in what I assume is meant to be southern England of the 1950s. The investigation is undertaken by Superintendent Halloran (John Mills), who becomes romantically involved with the niece of the town's GP. A further murder takes place before Superintendent Halloran solves the case.
Any critical analysis of a film such as this is largely superfluous. "Town on Trial" knows exactly what it is doing - and delivers a solidly entertaining mystery that has the air of an early forerunner of an episode of the current British TV series "Midsomer Murders". The cast includes an impressive array of well-known British character actors of the time, such as Raymond Huntley, Derek Farr, Fay Compton, Harry Fowler, Geoffrey Keen, Margaretta Scott and the wonderfully-named Totti Truman Taylor. It is competently directed and scripted and, while it will not live long in the memory, provides 90 minutes or so of undemanding entertainment. 6/10.
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