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J. Lee Thompson
James Robertson Justice
Clunky mystery with young Adam Faith giving better performance than more seasoned actors
Adam Faith shows Anne Baxter and Donald Sinden a thing or two about natural acting. While they play to the gallery, the 50s/60s pop idol nicely underplays his part as a young lad charged with murder. The scriptwriter/production designer/director has a ludicrous, but typical idea of what 'upper-class' Sinden calls a teddy-boy (already a dated idea in 1962.) Faith and his mates are a neatly attired, clean-cut crowd, hanging out in an espresso bar, decked with pictures of Ella Fitzgerald and Chris Barber (!) - a more likely venue for 40 year olds at that time. It was the pre-Beatles era, and most British films were very myopic in their portrayals of youth, although 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning' had hit the screens two years previously. This does seem like the Tunbridge-Wells version of youth gone astray,and accordingly it wasn't exactly a box-office smash. The clunky plot has more than one handy coincidence, and while the portrayal of the working classes is condescending, at least Anne Baxter's psychiatrist character gets to voice her opinion that people are human beings and should be treated as such. Jack MacGowran shines as a villain, as does Alfred Burke as a humane screw, and it's good to see Aussies Ed Deveraux and Ray Barrett playing senior coppers, but generally the whole pic is just a budget cut above one of the typical British supporting features that were still being produced at the time.
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