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Dual Alibi (1947)
Herbert Lom memorable in dual role
25 March 2007
I remember seeing this film some forty years ago. I was still at school and found it curiously absorbing. In fact I could'not stop telling everybody about it for days afterwards. I recall the film creating an atmosphere at once dark and foreboding. There was an understated menace in the air much as in the opening pages of a story by H.P. Lovecraft. The plot was relatively straight forward but with a delicious twist at the end that has been likened to a tale by O. Henry. What carries the film is the sublime performance of Herbert Lom. Now there was an actor who played the archetypal smooth villain of his day. In fact I cannot think of any other actor who so consummately conveyed villainy with such effective "European" sophistication and grace. A role portrayed to perfection in "The Ringer" with Donald Wolfit, "the Golden Salamander" and later, "Northwest Passage" with Kenny More and Lauren Bacall. Shades of Conrad Veidt of an earlier generation. Herbert Lom was a busy actor who appeared in numerous film and theatre productions during the fifties and sixties. Few will remember that he took the lead role when "The King and I" first came to London at Drury Lane (I think) and that he was the natural choice for the Harry Lime role in the radio version of "The Third Man" (circa, 1951). His brooding "European" looks and deep and accented speech were instantly recognised by the audiences of his day and although never a major top-of-the-bill star, was a respected member of any cast (e.g. "and with Herbert Lom as Napoleon") and by todays standards would be considered an A-list celebrity.
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