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Once a Sinner (1950)

| Drama | July 1950 (UK)
A lowly bank clerk marries a good time girl but she two-times him for her old crooked boyfriend.


Lewis Gilbert


David Evans (screenplay), Ronald Marsh (novel)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pat Kirkwood ... Irene James (as Patricia Kirkwood)
Jack Watling ... John Ross
Joy Shelton ... Vera Lamb
Sydney Tafler Sydney Tafler ... Jimmy Smart
Thora Hird ... Mrs. James
Humphrey Lestocq Humphrey Lestocq ... Lewis Canfield
Gordon McLeod Gordon McLeod ... Mr. Ross
Edith Sharpe Edith Sharpe ... Mrs. Ross
Harry Fowler ... Bill James
Danny Green ... Ticker James
Stuart Lindsell Stuart Lindsell ... Inspector Rance (as R. Stuart Lindsell)
Olive Sloane ... Lil
George Street George Street ... Bridges
Rose Howlett Rose Howlett ... Mrs. Lamb
Charles Paton ... Mr. Lamb


A lowly bank clerk marries a good time girl but she two-times him for her old crooked boyfriend.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »




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Release Date:

July 1950 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Una vez que un Sinner 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?


The bus on which Kirkwood and Watling first meet shows "Chalkwell Park" as one of its stopping points, which suggests that the location shots were done in Southend/Westcliff on Sea. See more »


Mrs. James: She's just rotten all through and nothing'll change her. Not you, nor anybody else!
See more »

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User Reviews

The Reformatory Girl.
20 July 2014 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

There is very little known and written about as regards Lewis Gilbert's Once a Sinner. It's one of those British "B" noir productions that hasn't been readily available to Brit Noir completists. Thankfully some stalwart noir peeps have kept it topical via internet forums and it does have an official DVD release now.

Once a Sinner is very British. The backdrop is quintessentially of the British period, a place of terrace houses, smoky public houses and working class citizens trawling the wet streets that are dimly lit by bulbous lamps. The dialect and delivery is also very correct in the British mannerisms of the time, and crucially the class divide and society's reaction to our main character is born out by the film makers.

Adapted to the screen by David Evans from the novel "Irene" written by Ronald Marsh, it's a film dealing with a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who steals the heart of a well to do man and subsequently flips his life upside down. Peer and parental pressure snobbery is abound as Irene James (Pat Kirkwood) and John Ross (Jack Watling) try to battle through the emotional maze pitched in front of them. But with a crooked ex-lover (the wonderful Sydney Tafler) refusing to go away, Irene's chances of finally making a go of life seems remote.

For the most part the pace is slow and the picture is very dialogue heavy. Ronald Binge's musical score also confuses the issue of just what type of film this wants to be, it's all very breezy and akin to one of those lovely old Ealing comedies that were made with some wry social commentaries. That is until the last quarter is reached and the piece moves onto a different plane...

Gilbert and cinematographer Frank North introduce ominous visuals as Binge's music becomes more sinister in tone. It is here where Once a Sinner earns its noir badge, the narrative becomes devil like and the pay off is straight out of noirville. It's most assuredly a fitting reward for those having the patience to stay with Gilbert's movie during the more laborious passages. 6.5/10

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