9 user 2 critic

Intent to Kill (1958)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | February 1959 (USA)
A British doctor working in a Canadian hospital, has to assist in a delicate brain operation on a South American President, who is in hiding from a gang of assassins.


Jack Cardiff


Jimmy Sangster (screenplay), Brian Moore (based on the novel "Intent To Kill" by) (as Michael Bryan)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Todd ... Bob McLaurin
Betsy Drake ... Nancy Ferguson
Herbert Lom ... Juan Menda
Warren Stevens ... Finch
Carlo Giustini ... Francisco Flores (as Carlo Justini)
Paul Carpenter Paul Carpenter ... O'Brien
Alexander Knox ... Dr. McNeill
Lisa Gastoni ... Carla Menda
Peter Arne ... Kral
Katie Boyle ... Margaret McLaurin (as Catherine Boyle)
John Crawford ... Boyd
John McLaren John McLaren ... Anaesthetist
Kay Callard Kay Callard ... Carol's Friend
Jackie Collins ... Carol Freeman
Maggie Rennie Maggie Rennie ... Night Nurse (as Maggie McGrath)


As British Dr. Bob McLaurin prepares for a dangerous surgical procedure on South American leader Juan Menda in Montreal, the doctor's wife reveals her plan to blackmail McLaurin if he refuses her demand to take a job in England. Hating the provincial life in Canada, she is willing to destroy the career of her husband and his beautiful colleague Dr. Nancy Ferguson if that's what it takes to get back home. Meantime, a trio of assassins stalks the hospital with deadly plans for the high-profile patient. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


If the operation didn't kill him ... their bullets would !


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Carlo Giustini is dubbed by Robert Rietty See more »

Crazy Credits

This film is made under licence from Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation - the registered Proprietor of the Trademark - CinemaScope See more »


Referenced in Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff (2010) See more »


Music by Derek New
See more »

User Reviews

INTENT TO KILL (Jack Cardiff, 1958) ***
3 September 2011 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This was legendary British cinematographer Cardiff's official directorial debut after his involvement in Errol Flynn's aborted pet project, THE STORY OF WILLIAM TELL in 1953. Although I have had to make do with a barely serviceable copy culled from a VHS-sourced transmission off of US TV channel "American Movie Classics", this is quite a good thriller that deserves rediscovery.

While the plot is hardly original – being a rehash of STATE SECRET and CRISIS (both 1950) – the good cast and suspenseful narrative twists (courtesy of late screenwriter Jimmy Sangster) make for an enjoyably engrossing 90 minutes. Despite being a British production, it is mostly set in a Canadian hospital, where various attempts are made on the life of South American leader Herbert Lom (who had also appeared in the afore-mentioned STATE SECRET!) who has been admitted there, supposedly incognito, to undergo brain surgery. Among the surgeons operating on him are Richard Todd, Betsy Drake (then Mrs. Cary Grant, who was the star of CRISIS!) and Alexander Knox; on the other side of the spectrum are a hired trio of assassins: Warren Stevens, John Crawford (later the brutish gangster on the run in Hammer's HELL IS A CITY {1960}) and Peter Arne (who would himself graduate to playing notable villains).

Thankfully, the tense interaction between the incompatible band of villains make up for the double helping of soap opera elements to be found in Todd's wife getting hysterically threatening after discovering his unspoken feelings for Drake and, consequently, his unwillingness to leave Canada for a better-paying job in London as a doctor to elite society; similarly, Lom's much-younger wife (Lisa Gastoni, here in her international phase prior to the actress' "Euro-Cult" heyday) is being pursued by Carlo Justini, a former beau and Lom's own two-faced (in more ways than one) lieutenant. Actually, Justini is the middleman between the hired killers and their employers but their plans go repeatedly awry because Stevens has to contend with boorish Crawford's penchant for partying and disgraced medico Arne's bundle of nerves and the palpable enmity between these two!

The exciting climax sees Todd (ostensibly acting as lookout but actually romancing Drake) taking on the gun-toting Crawford in the hospital back-stairs and the convalescing and depressed (over his wife's suspected infidelity) Lom facing-off personally with Stevens – who had previously only acted as telephone diversion to Lom's attending nurse – in his room (via a gun ingeniously-hidden within the unlikeliest and most innocuous-looking of personal belongings on his bed-side table!); in the ensuing commotion, both Todd and a Canadian Mountie guarding the reception area are wounded.

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Release Date:

February 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Intent to Kill See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada

Company Credits

Production Co:

Zonic Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound Recording) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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