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The Set-Up is an excellent B feature with a good story, persuasive acting and sharp, clear photography. The narrative moves forward constantly, yields several surprises and does not depend on silly coincidences or characters behaving in ways that defy belief. When the final plot twist is revealed, everything we have seen makes sense.
Arthur Payne, recently out of prison, meets a stranger, Theo Gaunt, on a train and explains his situation. A few days later another stranger makes a curious proposition. Arthur should participate in a fake robbery and remove some imitation jewelry from the stranger's own safe. They agree and money passes hands. When the fake robbery takes place, a woman walks into the room. She is later found dead.
Brian Peck gives a sympathetic performance as the ex prisoner caught in a nasty trap. Maurice Denham is pretty well perfect as Theo Gaunt, a business man who sets up a devious scheme and gets more that he bargained for. Best of all is Anthony Bate as a very smooth villain, with a performance so good that it is surprising he was not asked to play similar parts in larger productions.
The Set-Up is almost forgotten today and was quickly dismissed when new, but it deserves to be seen again.
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