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Desperate Moment (1953)

Simon Van Halder (Sir Dirk Bogarde) is accused of murdering a British soldier during post-World War II mayhem. His girlfriend works on his behalf to expose the true villain.

Director:

Compton Bennett

Writers:

Martha Albrand (novel), George H. Brown (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dirk Bogarde ... Simon Van Halder
Mai Zetterling ... Anna DeBurg
Philip Friend ... Capt. Bob Sawyer
Albert Lieven ... Paul Ravitch, alias Schleger
Fritz Wendhausen Fritz Wendhausen ... Warder Goeter (as Frederick Wendhausen)
Carl Jaffe Carl Jaffe ... Cellblock Guard Becker
Gerard Heinz ... German Prison Doctor
André Mikhelson André Mikhelson ... Polizei Inspector
Harold Ayer ... Capt. Trevor Wood, U.S. Army
Walter Gotell ... Ravitch's Servant-Henchman
Friedrich Joloff Friedrich Joloff ... Valentin Vladek, alias Winter
Simone Silva Simone Silva ... Mink, Valentin's girl
Ferdy Mayne ... Detective Laurence
Walter Rilla ... Col. Bertrand, Dutch consulate
Antonio Gallardo Antonio Gallardo ... Spanish Dancer
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Storyline

In post-world-war II Germany, Dutchman Simon Van Halder (Sir Dirk Bogarde) is accused of killing a British soldier. Although he confessed to the murder in order to obtain penicillin for his illness, Simon is innocent. During the final days of the war, Simon and three other men tried to steal penicillin, from a British Army outpost, for sale on the black market. During the robbery, a British guard got killed. Simon was captured and he initially refused to incriminate himself. However, Simon's accomplices told him that his girlfriend, Anna DeBurg (Mai Zetterling), died. With nothing to lose, Simon agreed to falsely confess to the murder of the British soldier in order to save the others, and also to receive antibiotics for his illness. The military authorities convict him and sentence him to life in prison. During his transport by train to a central prison, Simon tries to escape. His escape fails and he ends up in the prison hospital where he recovers from his illness. While ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

BERLIN TO DAY! The most Exciting city in the world See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller | War

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Momento de Desespero See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
Dirk Bogarde tries to clear himself of murder in post-war Germany
9 September 2010 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Dirk Bogarde has a "Desperate Moment" or two in this 1953 film also starring Mai Zetterling. Bogarde plays Simon van Halder, a man serving a life sentence in postwar Europe for the murder of a British soldier. During the war, in a group with three other men, one of them, Paul (Wharf Watchman) told Simon that his girlfriend Anna (Mai Zetterling) had been murdered. In need of penicillin and in despair over Anna's death, Simon agrees to confess to the murder. The men steal penicillin for him.

Then, while convalescing in a prison hospital after an escape from a train gone awry, Simon gets a visit from Anna. He now know that Paul convinced him to confess by lying. He and Anna are desperate to get him a new trial, but the men with Simon need to be found. But Paul is still pulling the strings.

Filmed in Berlin, this isn't a very exciting film and drags. Bogarde had been very ill before the movie, and his studio, Rank, supplied him with weight-lifting equipment to buff up. Bogarde claimed in a health magazine that in order to look buff, he put on extra sweaters and pants and never used the equipment.

Bogarde is in his early thirties here and incredibly handsome. He and Zetterling had great chemistry, as they proved in a play they did together. They were so hot, audience members believed they were involved off-stage. They're both very good, but both Bogarde and Zetterling made many films well beneath their considerable abilities. Alas, this is one of them. Look for Theodore Bikel in a supporting role.

For Bogarde fans.


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