Big houses gently lit on an affluent suburban avenue. Rolls Royce pulls up, well-heeled types alight: a silver cigarette case chap in a tuxedo (John Van Eyssen), a Charles Lawton where there's muck there's brass cigar chomper (Victor Platt), and his permanent wave fox fur lady wife (Moira Redmond, who later popped up in an episode of The Sweeney, Sweeney fans). Once inside, cigar man's wife retires and Harry (that's Victor Platt) typically heads off to his study. But what's this? The old boy's safe has been riffled and, what's more, there's someone at the French windows pointing a pistol at Harry's grid. He fires! Harry falls shot to the floor and dead.
Thus begins another Edgar Wallace Mystery a film, in its country of origin, and not a TV episode, as stated here, albeit somewhat short for a feature. Wallace was writing in the 1910s and 20s and this is based on one of his novels. Which one I'm not sure (research!) The film adaptation considerably updates things though to reflect contemporary worries about the new decade, the 60s. Hence Harry's killer is dismissed by police as "a young thug with a gun in his pocket."
"The new regime", mutters dependable old Bernard Lee (yes, that one, M fans), seen here as Inspector Mann of Scotland Yard.
There's also an Aussie (Gordon Boyd) who kills for money (they're descended from criminals, you see) and a couple of motorbike kids who rob from lorries parked up by the Castle Café, a pull in. One of these, Larry Martyn, a sort of Sam Kydd of the 70s and 80s if you like, enjoyed/ endured his only major roll in Are You Being Served? playing Mr Mash. His accident prone turn in an oft repeated public information film of the 70s made him a familiar face.
Inspector Mann reserves particular contempt for the murdered man's fizzy pop product, Cool Kups the drink that makes you sparkle/ tingle/ the drink that's good for you. Try it today! and has a look of Don't tell me what to do lady as he listens to one of their advertising jingles.
All in all this is an unremarkable entry to this series of films and the fireball conclusion in a scrap yard of old cars fails to raise things above the routine.
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