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The Price of Silence (1959)

| Crime, Drama
Roger Fenton has been released from prison and stared to build a new life. But his past catches up when an elderly visitor is murdered in his office.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Roger Fenton
...
Audrey Truscott
Maya Koumani ...
Maria Shipley
Terence Alexander ...
John Braine
Mary Clare ...
Mrs. West
Victor Brooks ...
Supt. Wilson
Joan Heal ...
Ethel
Olive Sloane ...
Landlady
Llewellyn Rees ...
H.G. Shipley
Annette Kerr ...
Miss Collins
Norman Shelley ...
Councilor Forbes
Sam Kydd ...
Slug
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Storyline

Roger Fenton has been released from prison and stared to build a new life. But his past catches up when an elderly visitor is murdered in his office.

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based on novel | See All (1) »

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TRAPPED in a Web of Mystery...Compelled by his past to pay...

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Crime | Drama

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1.37 : 1
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When Gordon Jackson drinks the full bottle of whiskey from one angle it is empty and from another two thirds full. See more »

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User Reviews

Modest, undemanding but surprisingly effective crime drama.
6 September 2017 | by (Poole, Dorset) – See all my reviews

Richard Fuller (Gordon Jackson) is released from prison after serving a sentence for embezzlement. His record prevents him from getting a job so he changes his name to Roger Fenton, a character from a novel, b y deed poll. Moving to a small town he secures a position as a managing clerk with the elderly estate agent HG Shipley (Lleweylln Rees) and he is rapidly made a senior partner in the firm. In addition, he also finds a girlfriend in the form of the artist Audrey Truscott (Jane Thornburn). However, his past catches up with him when a former cell mate known as The Slug (Sam Kydd) arrives in town, recognises him and decides to try his hand at a little blackmail. Slug demands £600.00 so that he can sale his struggling newsagents shop and open a new business in the midlands which is a more profitable location. Fenton arranges for Slug to come to his office late one evening when everyone has gone home, supposedly to collect his payoff, but in reality so he can kill him. But, things take an unexpected turn when his intended victim fails to show up on time. Fenton leaves but Slug arrives and then an elderly lady, Mrs West (Mary Clare), who is buying a property from Fenton turns up with her deposit for her house. Slug kills her and escapes with the £3000, which puts Fenton in the frame for murder...

Modest, undemanding yet sometimes effective crime drama from quota quickie veteran Montgomery Tully. Tully, whose 'A' film career got off to a flying start with the double jeopardy thriller Murder In Reverse (1945: starring William Hartnell) before he was relegated to making b-pics, displayed a talent for lifting unpromising material into something worthwhile. Here, rather surprisingly, he is able to generate some admirable tension in spite of what must have been an ultra low budget and its mainly tiny studio settings.

Maurice J. Wilson's screenplay adds to that by shoehorning quite a lot of plot into a film that runs for just over an hour and offers us a number of possibilities as to how our hero, Fenton, will get into hot water as we know he will. For instance, HG Shipley's young, attractive wife, Maria (Maya Koumani), is bored being married to a sixty-nine year old man and attempts to pursue the younger Fenton in search of a more exciting life. In a bid to do this she influences her husband to promote him to the position of senior partner. We are invited to wonder whether her intentions are really designed to win Fenton's affections or if there is something more sinister afoot. Or, will the plot expand from Fenton's screwing over of a local town councillor who he overhears in the local pub talking of buying up an old timber yard for a song in order to flog it for an enormous profit to the local football team who desperately want it to build a new stadium, but is picked at the post by Shipley who gets their first after Fenton tips him off about the site's money making potential? Even after it has finally settled on a conventional blackmail plot, the suspense still holds up with Fenton sitting nervously in his office awaiting the arrival of his blackmailer, fiddling with the paper weight he has brought with him to do Slug in and he downs half a bottle of scotch in the process in a bid to pluck up the courage to do the deed. The will he or won't he factor reaches fever pitch here.

Although the film finally tails off into predictability with its typical b-pic finale, many movies of this type have all the suspense and tension of a worn out elastic band and few attempt to cram in as much plot as The Price Of Silence does.

The film is available as part of The Renown Crime Collection Vol 1 along with several other British quota quickie crime thrillers; many of which have probably not seen the light of day for decades. It includes Montgomery Tully's 1964 short film Boy With A Flute.


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