|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Two young lads, Mike (Malcolm Gerard) and Tony (Michael Davis), go for
a night out in London in search of girls. Meanwhile the attractive
young wife of a middle aged, wealthy businessman called Charles Grant,
Lisa (Jeanne Moody), is having an affair with John Crighton (Anthony
Steel). He would like Lisa to divorce her husband and marry him but she
is keen on the good life that her husband provides with his wealth and
insists that their affair should continue to be secret. Meanwhile, Mike
and Tony cross swords with a police constable when a vending machine
swallows Tony's two bob. He hits it violently in a vain attempt to get
his money back but when the PC tries to restrain him, Tony accidentally
pushes in in front of a passing car drove by Lisa with John in the
passenger seat. The lads flee with John in pursuit but in panic Tony
throws a brick at their pursuer knocking him out. They hide the body
and themselves in a garage, which happens to be left unlocked. In
another strange twist of fate that garage happens to belong to Charles
Grant, Lisa's husband! Mike and Tony debate about what to do about the
unconscious John while Lisa gives a statement to the police but lies
about her lover's involvement stating that he was a complete stranger
who came from the other side of the street and only mentions Mike and
Tony who ran off. Mike and Tony use the telephone inside the house to
call an ambulance with the view of making a run for it afterwards but
things are further complicated when Charles comes home. He parks his
car in front of the garage door therefore blocking their proposed
escape route. In a state of dread, the pair hide in a closet and not
long after Lisa arrives home to her husband. Eventually the ambulance
turns up and an understandably bewildered Charles shows the paramedics
into his garage where they find Crighton unconscious. It transpires
that he is a diabetic who has gone into a coma and will die if they
cannot get a dose of Insulin to him in time. Charles suspects that his
wife knows the man as he detects a glimmer of recognition in her face.
When the paramedics have taken Crighton away and the couple have gone
to bed, Mike and Tony attempt to escape through the front door but set
off the burglar alarm. Charles apprehends them and sends for the police
and the two lads have no option but to come clean. It turns out that
the PC was not seriously hurt but Charles asks them a question, "Did
you specifically see the man get out of my wife's car or is it possible
that he came from behind?". Due to their panic at the time the lads are
not sure and agree that it is possible. Obviously answer satisfies Lisa
as her involvement with Crighton looks set to remain secret. But
another cruel twist of fate is about to occur with devastating
An interesting second feature from writer-director Vernon Sewell that has a bit of a chequered history. The film had its fair share of production problems and was shelved for three years before it got a brief showing in a few cinemas but it sank without trace. It turned up on TV a few times during the eighties but saw the light of day again in 2009 when it was given a DVD release paired with Charles Saunders' crime drama, Jungle Street (1961).
Despite the film's chequered history and long absence it emerges as a neat programmer, which is slightly above the standard of your average b-pic. For once it actually does what it says on the can as it really does turn out to be A Matter Of Choice for the main characters. The film is basically a minor moral fable about human beings and the choices in life we sometimes have to make and that whatever decision we choose, right or wrong, we have to face the consequences. The most interesting character in the film is Lisa (played by Jeanne Moody) who wants her lover, John Crighton, but also wants to keep her wealthy husband since he keeps her in the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed. John neatly sums it up when he says to her "You want the best of both worlds" during one of their secret rendezvous at his flat. But through the circumstances that unravel she ultimately ends up losing everything. The film may not be anything groundbreaking but it certainly is engaging, which is something rare in second features. The acting may not be exactly inspiring but everybody plays their part more than adequately and the film is directed with pace by Vernon Sewell.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
British noir is usually a few shades lighter than its American and
French counterparts, and "A Matter of Choice" is no exception.
The picture begins with a light-hearted quality, as two young men (Malcolm Gerard and Michael Davis) attempt to find some female company and we follow their misadventures in picking up female partners. This part of the film is quite amusing and satirical.
At the same time, much more seriously, we follow Jeanne Moody who is married to the older businessman Ballard Berkeley, and is having a long-running affair with Anthony Steel. Steel wants her to divorce and marry him, but Moody prefers having her husband and lover. This part of the film is written quite well, especially Moody's needs and appetites for both men.
The "matter of choice" is really an incidental focus, not a serious theme (in my view). It is that the two parts of the picture are brought into a serious intersection by each choosing a travel path that could have gone differently.
Moody is driving home with Steel beside her, her husband being at a late business meeting, when she collides with a cop who is accidentally pushed off the curb by Gerard and Davis. They flee, pursued by Steel. One of them stops Steel with a brick and, when another patrolman comes by, they hide him in what turns out to be Moody's garage.
This leads to even more serious complications, since Steel is diabetic. Moody is busy attempting to tell the police what happened while leaving Steel out of her account. Gerard and Davis are finding it difficult to escape undetected. Berkeley has returned home and suspects his wife. Two men are injured and death is not out of the question.
Indeed, although there is a degree of resolution of these issues, the movie ends on a decidedly down series of notes.
"A Matter of Choice" is an interesting story and told well. One should expect Gerard and Davis to lend a comic touch that is eventually overwhelmed by serious matters.
It's been about 15 years since I saw this film but I recall it was actually a very good film. It deals with the implications of everyday decisions, in this case the decision made by two people over which route to take home, and how these fateful decisions can effect a wide circle of people. Low budget and black and white with no standout acting performances, it is nevertheless coherent and thought provoking.
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