This is the first film based on Francis Durbridge's long-running BBC Radio serial. A gang has been executing a daring series of smash and grab robberies. A policeman on the case appears to commit suicide, but crime novelist and amateur sleuth, Paul Temple, suspects foul play. With the help of the victim's sister, reporter Louise Harvey (who uses the pseudonym "Steve Trent"), Paul sets about tracking down the notorious diamond robbers... Written by
This is the first of the four feature films made between 1946 and 1952 featuring the lead character of Paul Temple, detective, based upon the stories and radio scripts of Frances Durbridge. In this film, Anthony Hulme plays Temple, but in the other three, Temple was played by John Bentley. This is a very good one. Of the four films, only three have been issued on video or DVD. The first and the last are both better than CALLING PAUL TEMPLE (1948, see my review), which is not as good, although it is notable for Dinah Sheridan playing 'Steve', one of her most renowned roles later on being the mother in THE RAILWAY CHILDREN (1970, see my review). (Dinah Sheridan's real name was Dinah Ginsburg, and her father was a Russian.) The story of this film deals with a ruthless gang of jewel thieves who frequently murder people when they carry out their robberies in England. It is realized that they follow a similar pattern to that of an earlier jewel thief gang in South Africa some years before, and that they must be led by the same man, whose true identity is not known, but who goes by the name of the Knave of Diamonds. One night watchman just before dying manages to say something about 'the green finger', which makes no sense to anyone, though its meaning later becomes very clear. There is a mysterious little woman called Miss Marchmont, played with verve by the character actress Beatrice Varley, whose true identity also turns out to be a surprise in the story. There is another mysterious name, 'the first penguin', which is important, but what or who is meant by it? The film is entertaining for those who find a 1940s detective film interesting.
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