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Cloudburst (1951)

Approved | | Mystery | July 1951 (UK)
A Canadian World War II veteran working for the British Foreign Office scours England for the killer who murdered his wife.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... John Graham
... Carol Graham
... Inspector Davis
Sheila Burrell ... Lorna Dawson
Harold Lang ... Mickie Fraser / Kid Python
Mary Germaine ... Peggy Reece
Thomas Heathcote ... Jackie
... Sergeant Ritchie
Lyn Evans ... Chuck Peters
Edith Sharpe ... Mrs. Reece
James Mills ... Thompson
... Kate
... Cardew
... Johnson
... Carter
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Storyline

A Canadian World War II veteran working for the British Foreign Office scours England for the killer who murdered his wife.

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The Torment of a Man's Split Mind! See more »

Genres:

Mystery

Certificate:

Approved

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Release Date:

July 1951 (UK)  »

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First Hammer film of George Woodbridge. See more »

Goofs

Near the beginning of the movie, Inspector Davis asks someone from his office what a "cryptographer" is. It is inconceivable that a Scotland Yard Inspector wouldn't know that. See more »

Quotes

John Graham: [looks at the crossword his wife has been doing] Well... you've filled in nine words... You must have been here for hours.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The World of Hammer: Hammer (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Superb crime drama that also adjusts the viewer to a new post-war Britain
4 August 2011 | by See all my reviews

Cloudburst (1951)

A great title, and a curious, odd little film that is commanding at times and well filmed throughout. And it has some real surprises, so good drama.

The big surprise is near the beginning and I don't want to give anything away, but there is a deeply romantic core to the entire movie. This is most of all about a man who loves his wife. Both man and wife are involved in the British top secret code breaking operation of WWII, and the movie begins in fact with a tour of the code-breaking room. But then it shifts to our two leads, the man a hale and handsome Robert Preston, the woman a cute and slightly mysterious Elizabeth Sellars. They're going to have a baby, life looks perfect ahead.

But things take a sudden turn, and Preston is off on a solitary manhunt. His lonely quest and his isolation from his friends make this a kind of British film noir, a post-war malaise hanging over the film (it's set in 1946). There is a more than slight improbability to some of the revenge he wreaks (the victims seem a hair willing to just stand there and take it) but if you accept this as just part of the drama, the rest of the film in all its small details is really great, really compelling.

In a way, the movie is a metaphor for the whole war, both on the grand scale (hating the Germans) and on a personal level (hating particular crimes, specific deaths). And if retribution occurs, a higher order of justice is inserted, too. And honor, or a sense of doing the right thing based on conscience. Preston pulls off all sides of this dilemma well. He's warm and he's cold, he's smart and he's flawed. And in the end he's sentimental, too. The final reading of the code, once it's broken, is a touching triumph.

And what about the character Sellars plays? "My hatred would overwhelm me like a cloudburst," she says, explaining not only the title, but the theme of the movie, retribution from the gut. She inhabits the film very much, but from the opposite side of things than Sellars. As you'll see. The film does move slowly at times. The war is over, that kind of high drama is past, but in its smaller goals it never stutters, it never fails to know what it wants and how to get there.


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