An actress is murdered by her estranged husband, who is jealous of all of her young boyfriends. The next day, writer Robert Tisdall (who happens to be one such boyfriend) discovers her body on the beach. He runs to call the police, however, two witnesses think that he is the escaping murderer. Robert is arrested, but owing to a mix-up at the courthouse, he escapes and goes on the run with a Police Constable's daughter Erica, determined to prove his innocence.Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS or DVD copy of the movie. Therefore, many of the versions of this movie available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the movie. See more »
When Robert is reaching for Erica in the mine shaft, Erica alternates reaching with her left and right hands multiple times between shots. See more »
Don't shout, I tell you! Don't shout!
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As a total package it is not perfect but it is typically strong and has some classic moments
When Christine Clay is found dead on the beach, a couple of girls see Robert Tisdall fleeing the scene. He claims to have discovered the body and have been running for help but the police think otherwise, Tisdall's missing coat and belt helping to convince them that he strangled Clay himself. It is the day of Tisdall's trial where luck and a bit of judgement help him slip away into the crowd and make a break for it. Tisdall turns to Erica Burgoyne for help and she reluctantly gives him a lift despite being the Chief Constable. Quickly he wins her over and, against her better judgement she helps him as he tries to recover his missing coat and prove his innocence.
This film opens with a wonder scene that is just one of the things that makes me love Hitchcock so much. As we look at the murder weapon (the belt) being pushed around by the sea, it forms a near perfect question mark, symbolising perfectly the mystery to be revealed behind this simple object. From here we are given a story that is similar to The 39 Steps in regards the innocent man turning to a female for help in fleeing the law. Unlike that film though, I didn't think that this mystery gripped me as much as I would have liked and it wasn't till the final third where I felt that we were getting into it.
It doesn't matter too much though because for the first sections it does have a solid pace and charm despite the lack of urgency that comes with these. It is perhaps a bit too slight for modern audiences but for me it was a delight to see Tisdall's wonderfully "English" escape (almost apologetically slipping into the viewing gallery of the court) and the way he almost carelessly "flees" across the country while flirting with Erica. It is enjoyable but I did miss the lack of mystery and was glad when we got into it near the end. Not only did it get more exciting but it also produced a brilliant "reveal" shot that deserves to be considered as one of Hitchcock's classic shot as we slowly go from a wide shot of a ballroom right into the eyes of the killer on the other side; it is a brilliant shot and made all the better by having the cheeky "Drummer Man" being sung at the same time.
De Marney struggles to inject urgency into his character in the same way as the material prefers the charming fun of the piece. He does fit the bill though not as charming as Cary Grant (for example) perhaps but he is nicely English without being uptight or stiff. Pilbeam is a stunning woman. Her performance isn't brilliant but again it does just what the film requires and she works well with De Marney. Radford shows up in a solid supporting cast that includes turns from Marmont, Rigby, Clare and others.
Overall, a typically strong Hitchcock movie that as a total package doesn't stand up to his best films but it is enjoyable nonetheless and does have at least two scenes that should be mentioned when listing classic Hitchcock moments.
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