|Index||3 reviews in total|
William Bendix gives another brilliant performance as a blasphemer. Aldo Ray performs in a strange and unique role. The conclusion of the film may not come close to Dietrich-Laughton in "Witness for the Prosecution", but one could see a comparison with the original "Bad Seed"
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is hard to remember when 'Johnny Nobody' ( 1961 ) was last on
television. Like a lot of good British movies, it has been undeservedly
Written by Patrick Kirwan, it opens in a sleepy little Irish village where drunken American writer 'Mulcahy' ( William Bendiz ) is flaunting his atheistic views before the shocked locals. A fight breaks out, and even the arrival of 'Father Carey' ( Nigel Patrick ) is unable to calm the situation. Mulcahy challenges The Almighty - should He exist - to strike him dead. He indeed does die - thanks to a shot from a gun fired by a mysterious stranger ( Aldo Ray ) identifying himself as 'Nobody'. He then says: "I was standing there, and a voice said "Destroy that man!"".
The press nickname him 'Johnny Nobody', as his trial begins in Dublin. The main plank of his defence is that God Himself ordered Mulcahy's destruction. The villagers are convinced of his innocence. After all, did not God once put an end to Sodom and Gomorrah? When asked if he believes Johnny to be telling the truth, Carey cannot answer, so a two-day recess is called. Carey takes the opportunity to investigate the source of a number of unsigned letters containing Bible quotes - a small village in the Republic of Ireland. Here he learns the truth about the mysterious 'Johnny Nobody'...
This intriguing, thought-provoking mystery was directed by its star, the late ( and underrated ) Nigel Patrick ( remember him from 1959's 'The League Of Gentlemen'? ). He does not sound remotely Irish, but no matter, the rest of the cast is composed of wonderful performers of the calibre of Joe Lynch, J.G. Devlin, Danny O'Dea, Edd Byrnes, Noel Purcell, Niall McGinnis, and Cyril Cusack. The first part of the story is a bit talky, but when Carey is reported to the police by Miss Floyd ( Yvonne Mitchell ) it changes gear, becoming in effect a clerical 'Thirty-Nine Steps' with Carey as 'Richard Hannay' in a dog collar. Some nice location shooting in Ireland here. Ron Goodwin's harmonica theme is wonderfully evocative.
Things To Look Out For - a cameo from Bernie Winters ( sans Mike ) as a press photographer.
This is pleasant entertainment, and would make a nice addition to Odeon Entertainment's excellent 'Best Of British Collection'.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After the initial trial sequence the film goes in a completely different direction.Patrick goes to a deserted racecourse and is almost trampled by a horse whose rider doesn't stop.His face is scratched.He gets in his car and then drives into a bog,as someone has removed a warning sign.He goes to the road where waiting for him in her car is Yvonne Mitchell who is a journalist who has been trying to interview him.She drives him to her house.He tries to phone but it is dead.She then admits that she is the wife of Ray and doesn't want him to go back to court.It turns out that Ray shot Bendix as he was jealous of his success as an author.Patrick escapes in her car.However she phones the police and claims that Patrick has assaulted her and stolen items from her home as well as the car.The police seem to believe this without any verification.Patrick escapes and his evasion of the manhunt is very redolent of "The Thirty Nine Steps".he eventually gets to court but the jury have for some strange reason found Ray not guilty.He gloats out loud.Patrick effectively curses him and a couple of seconds later Ray,conveniently ,drops dead.The second half is very tense and much better than the first.As a fan of Bendix I was disappointed that he was killed off so early in the film.
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