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This character study joins the painter at the height of his fame in 1642, when his adored wife suddenly dies and his work takes a dark, sardonic turn that offends his patrons. By 1656, he ... See full summary »
A barber steals £100 from a tailor to settle his extravagant wife's debts. Discovering who committed the theft the tailor starts to blackmail the barber. When a fire breaks out in the tenements and spreads through the area the barber murders the tailorWritten by
[on Pilleger's murder]
He was nothing but an old vampire - nothing more nor less!
That's right. I borrowed ten shillings from him a year ago and I'm still paying him back. At least I was.
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If the only movie he had directed had been 1951's A Christmas CAROL, Brian Desmond Hurst would have been a great director. Imagine my happiness to watch this movie and discover another great movie from the man.
Ralph Richardson is a barber in a poor street in an unnamed port city; wife Diana Wynard has just given birth to a daughter and money is tight. One evening, Richardson is walking through the street. He passes by a bank and spots a pile of cash. He hops through the window, grabs it, hops back out and goes home -- to a life that involves blackmail, murder, riot and suicide.
It's about two whiskers from straight film noir. Small man seeking a place in a decent society? Check. German Expressionist cinematographer? Check (it's Gunther Krampf, whose work on NOSFERATU was uncredited). Echoes of French Poetic Realism and doom? Check. It misses on a couple of points, like the presence of actual criminal masterminds, but it delivers on almost everything else.
Ralph Richardson is superb -- as he is in every role I've seen him in. For those who like to play spot-the-star, Glynis Johns has a role with two lines in her second year in the movies; she does has a credit at the bottom of the cast list.
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