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Tomorrow at Ten (1965)

 |  Thriller  |  September 1962 (UK)
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It's a race against time for the police when they have to find a kidnapped boy imprisoned with a time bomb, after his abductor dies without revealing the child's whereabouts.


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Title: Tomorrow at Ten (1965)

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Credited cast:
John Gregson ...
Inspector Parnell
Alec Clunes ...
Anthony Chester
Alan Wheatley ...
Assistant Commissioner Bewley
Kenneth Cope ...
Sergeant Grey
Ernest Clark ...
Dr. Towers
Piers Bishop ...
Jonathan Chester
Helen Cherry ...
Betty McDowall ...
Mrs. Parnell
Harry Fowler ...
Renee Houston ...
Mrs. Maddox
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lesley Allen ...
Richard Armour ...
Hospital nurse
Anthony Ashdown ...
Constable Jackson


It's a race against time for the police when they have to find a kidnapped boy imprisoned with a time bomb, after his abductor dies without revealing the child's whereabouts.

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Release Date:

September 1962 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Chance to Live  »

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Bongo Girl
Music by Brian Fahey
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User Reviews

the Golliwog Club
26 March 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A chap called Marlowe (Robert Shaw, Jaws fans) kidnaps a child of Hampstead parents by posing as the school-run chauffeur. After depositing the child in a deserted mansion, that resembles the one in Fallen Idol, he calmly turns up at the parent's house demanding 50 big ones. He's planning on catching the afternoon TWA to Rio see from where he'll book a long distance call to tell dad where his kid is hid. Now here's the clever bit. If he doesn't get his dough an explosive device hidden in a Golliwog will detonate tomorrow at ten – and he's given the Golliwog to the child for safekeeping.

I bought this DVD from Best of British series issued by Odeon. It's the sort of thing which used to pad out afternoon schedules in the distant days of 3 channel Britain. It's directed by Lance Comfort, who made films for RKO in the 40s and even directed James Mason once upon a time. Comfort, however, never really made a big film and subsequently became lost in the culturally reviled wasteland of second features – many for Butchers Film Service. In recent years there's been an attempt to re-evaluate Comfort's work. There's even been a monograph by Brian McFarlane and one of his films was compared to Resnais on this very website no less (Pit of Darkness).

This one is not quite typical of the second feature era. For a start it's a little bit later (1964) than that. Also there are a few moments that actually remove the film from the largely sealed world of the British B movie. There's even a cute reference to Z cars as Shaw whistles the theme tune while preparing the Golliwog bomb. Incidentally, I feel that an absence of any sort of popular culture from British B's of the 1957-63 era (new towns, West Indians, jeans, the teenage industry, etc) makes them strangely representative of their era. The fashion today for film makers to drench film soundtracks with the pop music of the film's era is not only a lazy way of establishing period flavour but to me rings false. Pop music may be all pervasive now for the ipod generation, if only superficially, but how many middle aged middle class people in the 50s/ 60s had any interest in pop culture beyond a vague awareness of Elvis and the Beatles maybe?

No matter, this film features John Gregson in the lead, as Inspector Parnell investigating the kidnapping, and two stars of the future in the aforementioned Shaw and Kenneth Cope (Cope pops up at the – Er – Golliwog Club – the way the girls are dancing here has to be seen to be believed – and interrogates Renee Houston – who later pops up as his battleaxe mum in Carry On At Your Convenience, trivia fans). Ironically it's Gregson as the established star who is a bit miscast here. He's called to play a maverick cop who goes against his superior, Bewley (Alan Wheatley). Unfortunately, Gregson is far too meek and mild of voice and manner to carry any conviction. The film is very much of its decade though when it pits working class cop Parnell against patrician, hunt ball brown noser Bewley, who simply wants to let Marlowe skip to Brazil with his loot. Unfortunately what could have been a rip roaring barney between the two – one man embodying the 1950s and the other the 1960s – has all potential drama rung out of it by the laborious manner in which Parnell explains that perhaps this wouldn't be such a great idea ("What the hell are you talking about?")

Better is the psychological stand off between Parnell and Marlowe as the Inspector tries to break Marlowe down with a seemingly innocuous line of questioning. We see a little glimpse of what a great character actor Shaw was to become; the authenticity of his behaviour and accent lifting the film momentarily out of the fusty B world into something more contemporary.

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