Four Days (1951) Poster

(1951)

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6/10
Byron - get fun free
FilmFlaneur21 May 2017
There are three reasons to see this film, assuming that you are a fan of 1950's British B-movies, as I am. First, the cinematography and direction: even though one imagines that the production was brought in under an as-usual rushed schedule, with little time for artistic considerations, Gullermin and Elton do still manage some imaginative set ups, notably shooting from a low level and with some interesting composition within the academy frame. Secondly there is Kathleen Byron, a long way from her greatest role (in Powell and Pressburger's BLACK NARCISSUS) perhaps, but still with a face which seems to demand provocative close ups, something which happens with striking effect a couple of times here. She may be working with sub-standard material, but how she fills the screen at such moments! Finally there is the plot itself, which is absurd and entertaining at the same time, fast moving and preposterous as it is. If the film had finished at the point of the fall from the cliff, I'd suggest, then it would have been an extremely taut and powerful minor classic. As it is, the plot has to lumber on into less starkly fatalistic territory - including a scene with a doctor which is bathetically laugh-inducing and suffers for it. No matter, the results are still worth seeing. On disc, the image is good.
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8/10
Well Done
magicshadows-900984 July 2016
I was expecting the usual British B' crime drama but was pleasantly surprised. A businessman (Hugh McDermott) returns home from a trip and begins to suspect that his wife (Kathleen Byron) is having an affair with his business partner's son (Peter Reynolds). Eventually Byron and Reynolds confess to the affair. McDermott refuses to give his wife a divorce and during the ensuing hysterics Byron tries to poison her husband. Reynolds realizes what is happening and prevents the murder.

During the next few days Byron comes to realize she loves her husband. Unfortunately, McDermott, believing his wife is about to leave, attempts suicide. He survives a great fall but loses his memory. Now an amnesiac, McDermott is blissfully in love with his devoted wife. Yet Byron fears their bliss is temporary, because if her husband's memory returns, he will surely hate her.

Reynolds then returns to the plot to blackmail Byron and threatens to reveal all to the unknowing McDermott. The cast is exceptional, the dialogue and direction is very good. The plots sounds too much like Coronation Street, yet it is all pulled off in a pleasing manner by a very good team of professionals.
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3/10
Blank Memory
malcolmgsw25 December 2015
Hugh Macdermott is a business man who is having troubles with his business,his business partner,his partners son and his wife.The son is not only forging cheques but having an affair with the wife.McDermott discovers the lovers together and confronts them..McDermott says he is thinking of killing them both.However his wife decides to poison his drink but the son takes it and she has to admit her plan.McDermott is seen jumping off a cliff but survives.However the fall has caused him to get amnesia and has no memory of the previous 4 days.He is remembering small things and she is worried he will remember big things.Trouble is that lover boy comes back and it all kicks off.However the ending is a bit of a let down.
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6/10
okay if some of the action isn't always clear
blanche-211 July 2019
"Four Days" from 1951 is one of those British B movies that I love. You can tell the film was made in probably the four days of the title, but there are some interesting camera shots and one great fight.

Hugh McDermott plays Francis, a man whose business is in trouble; as a result, he's been neglecting his wife Lucienne (Kathleen Byron). A ne'er do well, Johnny (Peter Reynolds), one of her husband's employees, has been making time with her.

When Francis returns unexpectedly from a successful trip to America, he catches Johnny and Lucienne together. Johnny's been forging company checks, and looming over him is the fact that Francis now will certainly turn him in. Panicked, Lucienne spikes Francis' brandy with pills. It's not a success. The next day, Francis attempts suicide and when he comes to, he doesn't remember anything of the previous four days.

Well, here's a man whose built his company from nothing. He's just made an important deal that will return them to earlier success and, finding the wife he's been ignoring has a boyfriend, decides to throw himself off of a cliff. Odd. I found it odd.

One of the reasons it was unclear to me I guess is because I'm dense or maybe the attempted murder scene threw me off. Johnny is also going to drink brandy until Francis signals him not to. He then knocks Francis' glass from his hand. Francis in turn has a fit and throws the brandy decanter across the room. I admit I thought he was angry with Johnny but I guess he did realize that Francis was trying to kill him.

The other thing that was a little curious to me was that Lucienne was ready to leave this guy and suddenly she hates Johnny and is madly in love with her husband again.

Someone said the film could have been great if it had ended earlier - I actually could have used a little more development.

Nevertheless, the acting was fine - Byron went on to have a very important role in Black Narcissus and worked into the 20th Century. Not a great beauty, she nevertheless has a compelling look. McDermott went on to character roles - here, he is very dapper.
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Hugh McDermott and Kathleen Byron add a touch of class to this neat British melodrama.
jamesraeburn200321 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The neglected and bored wife of a struggling businessman, Lucienne Templar (Kathleen Byron), begins an affair with the son of her husband's business partner, the dishonest layabout Johnny Keylin (Peter Reynolds) who has been forging cheques. After her husband Francis (Hugh McDermott) returns from a business trip to the States, he finds out about it. Lucienne attempts to poison Francis' drink, but Johnny intervenes and she has to admit what she was trying to do. Francis then attempts suicide by jumping off a cliff, but he survives and the doctor tells Lucienne that he will have no memory of the past four days. Lucienne abandons Johnny to return to her husband, but she becomes concerned when he starts remembering little things as he might in time remember her murder attempt. However, there is big trouble after Johnny's father disowns him for the forged cheques and for having an affair with Lucienne. He shows up at the Templar's home and tries to blackmail Lucienne by threatening to tell Francis about her attempt to poison him unless she gives him money...

Imported American leading man Hugh McDermott (a familiar face in British B's throughout the 1950's) and Kathleen Byron add a touch of class to this neat little quota quickie. They effortlessly portray the emotions and passions of the troubled couple's plight giving the proceedings an 'A' film quality. Peter Reynolds is also noteworthy as the shady Johnny; the kind of role he played in many small British films during the fifties and early sixties. An early offering by director John Guillermin, who would go on to enjoy a notable 'A' film career with Town On Trial, Never Let Go, Death On The Nile and the remake of King Kong etc. Considering the budgetary restrictions that must have been placed upon him on this, he succeeds in generating some admirable suspense and tension from the situations that arise in the script. My only slight criticism of it is that the film goes for the usual predictable 'B' movie ending and that does somewhat spoil the effect a little. If this one had been expanded upon a bit, this would have easily been a minor classic.

Four Days was recently screened at the BFI Southbank (formerly the National Film Theatre) in London and is avaliable on DVD paired with Henry Cass's comedy thriller Booby Trap.
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7/10
"..what is four days, in a lifetime...?"
Brucey_D14 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A man's efforts to save his business leave his wife feeling neglected, and she begins an affair with a younger man, the corrupt son of his business partner. When the affair is discovered, events take a very bad turn; the businessman is badly hurt and loses his memory of the bad events in the previous few days; will he remember, and will he and his wife truly forgive one another?.

I started to watch this film with fairly low expectations. However I was pleasantly surprised. Directed by John Guillermin (who latterly was responsible for films such as 'The Towering Inferno') and with a good cast and fine cinematography from Ray Elton, this film is better than I expected.

Guillermin was only four years into a long career as a director and by contrast this was Elton's penultimate film as cinematographer. The plot of the film owes much to melodramas of an earlier time, and the end result could have been somewhat old-fashioned; however what emerges is a quite watchable and engaging film, even if the plot is a little lacking.
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