A composer stuck in a middle-class marriage finds that his affair with his wife's half-sister has resulted in her pregnancy. When his wife refuses to give him a divorce he hatches a murder ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Laurence Payne ...
Norman Martell
Patricia Dainton ...
Jane Griffiths ...
Peggy Hill
Edward Underdown ...
Dr. Murdoch
John Arnatt ...
Supt. Ross
Humphrey Lestocq ...
Producer
Lucy Griffiths ...
Miss Potter
Olive Milbourne ...
Mrs. Booth
Arthur Hewlett ...
Marshall
Annette Kerr ...
Cinema cashier
Cleo Laine ...
Singer
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Storyline

A composer stuck in a middle-class marriage finds that his affair with his wife's half-sister has resulted in her pregnancy. When his wife refuses to give him a divorce he hatches a murder scheme that is too clever by half. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

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independent film | See All (1) »

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Drama | Thriller

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Release Date:

September 1961 (UK)  »

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First screened in 1961 by British cinemas as a second feature. It was later screened on American television as an episode of Kraft Mystery Theater (1959). See more »


Soundtracks

NOW AND THEN
Music by Don Banks
Lyrics by David Dearlove
Sung by Cleo Laine with Dudley Moore (piano)
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User Reviews

 
Forgotten but intriguing British thriller
18 June 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

An interesting murder mystery that plays havoc with a conventional narrative, THE THIRD ALIBI is one of those intriguing, long-forgotten British thrillers that's well worth a watch for modern audiences. The plot involves the thorough scoundrel Laurence Payne and his efforts to do away with his lovely but ailing wife, played by the eternal Patricia Dainton, so that he can be with lover Jane Griffiths.

There's a neat preamble to the central murder as the characters go through rehearsals; the COLUMBO writers would be proud of the painstaking attention to detail here. In the second half, things become more confused when they don't go exactly to plan, and the film becomes both unpredictable and appealing. My only real complaint is with the moral code of the time which means that certain plot events are easily guessable and quite contrived.

The film was made by the short-lived Eternal Films, who seemed to routinely employ the workmanlike Montgomery Tully as director. They mostly put out low rent crime films although they also dabbled in horror (THE HOUSE IN MARSH ROAD) and comedies (THE CUCKOO PATROL). Dainton gives a fine, fragile performance in this movie, and Griffiths (TREAD SOFTLY STRANGER) does well as the third party involved. Watch out for cameos from singer Cleo Laine and the one and only Dudley Moore, the latter uncredited, but you can see him playing the piano in one scene.


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