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To the Public Danger (1948)

Four people with very different backgrounds meet by chance at an English pub and gradually become carried away in an alcohol-lubricated bout of thrill-seeking (so far as that was possible ... See full summary »


Terence Fisher


Patrick Hamilton (play), T.J. Morrison (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Credited cast:
Dermot Walsh ... Captain Cole
Susan Shaw ... Nancy Bedford
Barry Letts ... Fred Lane
Roy Plomley Roy Plomley ... Reggie
Betty Ann Davies ... Barmaid
Sydney Bromley ... Bar patron
John Lorrell John Lorrell ... Police Sergeant
Sam Kydd ... Police Driver
Patricia Hayes Patricia Hayes ... Postmistress
Frederick Piper Frederick Piper ... Labourer
Patience Rentoul Patience Rentoul ... Labourer's Wife
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cliff Weir Cliff Weir ... Pub Landlord


Four people with very different backgrounds meet by chance at an English pub and gradually become carried away in an alcohol-lubricated bout of thrill-seeking (so far as that was possible in England in the late 1940s). When their spree gets out of hand, each person faces a moral choice with lasting consequences. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Drama







Release Date:

September 1948 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


"To The Public Danger" is based on the radio play of the same name written by Patrick Hamilton in 1939. See more »


Barmaid: She looks like a factory girl to me. And she looks like four penny worth of trouble into the bargain.
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User Reviews

Well worth a look, even if you don't like being preached at.
31 October 2003 | by jemkatSee all my reviews

This short film (only 43 mins) may possibly have been made as a public service exercise by Rank because it seems an unlikely piece of material to have been attempted as a commercial venture. But for what it is, a cautionary tale about the consequences of drunk driving, the lesson is acceptably presented in a surprisingly intense and well-directed little film which I even found to be quite suspenseful in places.

For such a short running time the characters are reasonably well fleshed out, and for the most part well played by the cast involved. Barry Letts in particular does a fine acting job throughout. Admittedly the part of Reggie is only a caricature at best, and although the roles played by Dermot Walsh (particularly in the last few minutes) and Susan Shaw verge on being overplayed this contributes to the intensity of the film as a whole. It is also good to see Patricia Hayes, an actress familiar to me through countless TV appearances back in the 60s and 70s, in one of her early screen roles.

For a British film of this time I also find this film to be quite fascinating in its depiction of class. The drunken yobbo here is not the working-class mug played by Barry Letts, who retains a degree of integrity throughout, but the upper class Captain (Dermot Walsh) who consistently makes it clear how little he thinks of his social inferiors. The sad part about this film for me is that I still recognise him, and the socially aspirant Susan Shaw character, however broadly drawn they are here, in people around me today.

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