7.7/10
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75 user 42 critic

The Big Clock (1948)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 9 April 1948 (USA)
After murdering someone, a magazine tycoon tries to frame an unknown, innocent man of the murder instead, while the innocent man tries to solve the murder himself.

Director:

John Farrow

Writers:

Jonathan Latimer (screenplay), Kenneth Fearing (novel)
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ray Milland ... George Stroud
Charles Laughton ... Earl Janoth
Maureen O'Sullivan ... Georgette Stroud
George Macready ... Steve Hagen
Rita Johnson ... Pauline York
Elsa Lanchester ... Louise Patterson
Harold Vermilyea ... Don Klausmeyer
Dan Tobin ... Ray Cordette
Harry Morgan ... Bill Womack (as Henry Morgan)
Richard Webb ... Nat Sperling
Elaine Riley Elaine Riley ... Lily Gold
Luis Van Rooten Luis Van Rooten ... Edwin Orlin
Lloyd Corrigan ... McKinley
Frank Orth ... Burt
Margaret Field Margaret Field ... Second Secretary
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Storyline

When powerful publishing tycoon Earl Janoth commits an act of murder at the height of passion, he cleverly begins to cover his tracks and frame an innocent man whose identity he doesn't know but who just happens to have contact with the murder victim. That man is a close associate on his magazine whom he enlists to trap this "killer" - George Stroud. It's up to George to continue to "help" Janoth, to elude the police and to find proof of his innocence and Janoth's guilt. Written by Ron Kerrigan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The strangest and most savage manhunt in history! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 April 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Spiel mit dem Tode See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ray Milland, Charles Laughton, and Maureen O'Sullivan previously co-starred in Payment Deferred. See more »

Goofs

George Stroud introduces McKinley to Pauline York as the "23rd President of the United States." McKinley corrects him by saying "25th" (which is correct). However, McKinley's lips say "24th" (which is incorrect as Grover Cleveland was the 24th) and the "25th" is an obvious voice over. See more »

Quotes

Pauline York: You know, Earl has a passion for obscurity. He won't even have his biography in 'Who's Who'.
George Stroud: Sure. He doesn't want to let his left hand know whose pocket the right one is picking.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in L.A. Noire (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wearin' of the Green
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Terrific
29 January 2009 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Remade in 1987 as "No Way Out," the 1948 film "The Big Clock" is a wonderful suspense film starring Charles Laughton, Ray Milland, George MacCready, and Maureen O'Sullivan, directed by O'Sullivan's husband, John Farrow.

Earl Janoth (Laughton), the owner of a publishing empire, is a quiet, enigmatic tyrant who loves clocks and has them all over his buildings throughout the country, including a big one in the lobby of his New York building. The clocks everywhere run together on naval observatory time.

Janoth's right-hand man, Steve Hagen (MacCready) does his dirty work for him. When Janoth kills his mistress (Rita Johnson), Hagen cleans up the mess. Janoth is sure he saw someone in the hall when he arrived at his girlfriend's apartment, and feeling that the man can identify him, wants him found and eliminated. He orders his executives to get the man, telling them the person they want is involved in a war contract scheme. One man, George Stroud (Ray Milland), who is heading up the investigation, isn't fooled. He knows that he is the man Janoth is looking for -- and why.

"The Big Clock" is a great cat and mouse story, with Stroud ducking people who saw him in various places with the mistress on the night she was killed. He also attempts to leave the building to find a cab driver when someone who can identify him is standing at the exit with security people.

Milland does an excellent job of being both cool and panicky, and Laughton's underplaying makes the character of Janoth all the more deadly. Maureen O'Sullivan is delightful as the long-suffering Mrs. Stroud, who's never had a honeymoon because of her husband's work. Elsa Lanchester is hilarious as an artist whose painting figures into the story.

My only complaint is that the ending is a tiny bit abrupt, though very amusing.

A really wonderful film for suspense-lovers, Hitchcock-like, and highly entertaining.


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