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
Killer Earl Janoth (Laughton) dispatches his employee Steve Hagen (Macready) to the crime scene to eliminate any evidence connecting him to victim Pauline York (Johnson). Hagen alters the broken clock time as well as removing the murder weapon and misc.incriminating evidence.George Stroud (Milland) subsequently enters the York apartment and changes the clock time again. What both fail to see and leave behind is the most incriminating evidence of all. A photo of the real killer, Earl Janoth, prominently displayed in the apartment. See more »
[talking on intercom to Steve Hagen]
On the fourth floor - in the broom closet - a bulb has been burning for several days. Find the man responsible, dock his pay.
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The Big Clock, starring Ray Milland and Charles Laughton, is a great black and white thriller in every way. Unlike many noirs of it's time, it's not a B movie. The lighting, sets, talent and camera-work are top notch. The acting is perfect, as would be expected with a cast like this. Milland is charming and easy to route for. In fact, I usually find him kind of stiff - a little to up tight and proper. Here he seems to be a real guy with real problems. Milland was most famously known for playing an alcoholic three years earlier. In a kind of nod to that "lost weekend" there's a fun scene of him going on a bender in Manhattan - with unforeseen results. Like all noirs, a small wrong decision becomes a bigger and bigger problem latter on. When Milland decides to hang out with a hot blonde instead of going home to his wife, you just know he's gonna get into big trouble. And boy does he. The big trouble is Laughton.
I've always enjoyed Charles "Capt. Bligh" Laughton. He was such a good actor. In The Big Clock he manages to be fascinating and loathsome playing the media empire kingpin. His character has no morals, and it's fun to watch him work. He clearly enjoyed himself making this film.
Oh, and isn't Elsa Lanchester great as the crazy artist? Everyone know's Lanchester. She wore the most famous hairdos in movie history.
Remade as No Way Out with Costner and Hackman in the leads.
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