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The Man in the Back Seat (1961)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  June 1961 (UK)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 54 users  
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Two young thugs rob a bookie leaving a dog-racing track with his winnings, but when they grab his case full of money they discover that he has chained it to his wrist. They dash around town... See full summary »

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Cast

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Keith Faulkner ...
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Carol White ...
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Harry Locke ...
Joe Carter
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Two young thugs rob a bookie leaving a dog-racing track with his winnings, but when they grab his case full of money they discover that he has chained it to his wrist. They dash around town trying to find a way to separate the case from the wrist of the bookie, who the pair has by now beaten so badly he appears to be dead. They finally come up with what they think is a foolproof plan, but soon something happens that they weren't quite expecting. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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based on novel

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Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

June 1961 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Der Mann im Rücksitz  »

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(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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User Reviews

 
THE MAN IN THE BACK SEAT (Vernon Sewell, 1961) ***
23 January 2010 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Mentioned in the sole IMDb comment on the recently-viewed Italian thriller TI ASPETTERO' ALL' INFERNO (1960) as being similar, this is even less of a ghost story than that one was – the haunting being relegated to the very last scene – but at least it does not cheat and have the 'manifestations' revealed as gimmicks! Anyway, this is one of an outburst of British B-movies (pretty much the equivalent of the 'quota quickies' of the 1930s but clearly having greater merit) which came out throughout the first half of the decade: most were thrillers and ran barely an hour in length (this one, in fact, clocks in at 54 minutes!). As far as I can recall, the only previous title I watched in this vein had been STRONGROOM (1962) – with which this shares director and leading man (Derren Nesbitt) – a long time ago early one morning on Italian TV…but have just acquired Sewell's HOUSE OF MYSTERY (1961; a genuine 'haunted house' movie this time around!) in time for this Halloween challenge, and also own at least two more i.e. THE IMPERSONATOR (1960) and THE TRAITORS (1962) in my collection. THE MAN IN THE BACK SEAT, then, is the 'ghost' in question, a bookie beaten up and abducted (since the money bag is chained to his wrist!) by "layabout" Nesbitt (with one leg in a cast!) and his married associate (Keith Faulkner); much of the proceedings take place in the car as everything seems to go wrong thereafter, and the couple are forced to drive around all night carrying their quarry – his life slowly ebbing away – with them. Faulkner wants to drive him to a hospital but the entry is blocked by security guards; the car gets a flat tyre and subsequently runs out of fuel – both of these bad breaks re-enforces Nesbitt's decision to get rid of the bookie, but they next attempt to have the man treated by a neighboring doctor who, suspecting foul play, does not want to get involved (so Nesbitt pays for his services, and his silence, with the blood money itself!). In the meantime, Faulkner's wife (Carol White) also becomes an unwitting accomplice, especially after having come across the secreted money bag; the robbers even try to dump their hapless victim on the street and make it look like he is a drunk, but Nesbitt had carelessly removed his gloves to douse him in alcohol – trying to rectify this mistake, the two are interrupted by a policeman on patrol so, they have to once more take to the road in tandem. Eventually, the man bites the dust as the other two are trying to reach yet another hospital; on their way to "scarper" from the scene of his final disposal, Faulkner begins to get paranoid – not only thinking every other car is the police chasing them, but he even keeps seeing the dead man's face in the rear-view mirror, which leads him to run their vehicle off the road into a ravine below. Nesbitt is killed instantaneously yet Faulkner barely survives and, when the police arrive, pleads with them to see to the third passenger…but the car blows up before they can do anything about it! Terse, gripping and stylish, the film makes for a sterling example of just what can be accomplished even with meager resources.


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