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The Circle (1957)

The Vicious Circle (original title)
When Dr. Howard Latimer finds the German actress that he had just met at London Airport murdered in his flat. It leads him into the world of murder, blackmail, and a fake passport scam.


Gerald Thomas


Francis Durbridge (screenplay)

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Cast overview:
John Mills ... Dr. Howard Latimer
Derek Farr ... Kenneth Palmer
Noelle Middleton ... Laura James
Wilfrid Hyde-White ... Maj. Harrington aka Robert Brady (as Wilfrid Hyde White)
Roland Culver ... Detective Inspector Dane
Mervyn Johns ... Dr. George Kimber
Rene Ray ... Mrs. Ambler
Lionel Jeffries ... Geoffrey Windsor
Lisa Daniely ... Frieda Veldon
David Williams David Williams ... The Detective Sergeant
Diana Lambert Diana Lambert ... Latimer's Office Nurse
Hal Osmond Hal Osmond ... Joe - Golf Caddy
Gillian Moran Gillian Moran


When Dr. Howard Latimer finds the German actress that he had just met at London Airport murdered in his flat. It leads him into the world of murder, blackmail, and a fake passport scam.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

british noir | See All (1) »


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Release Date:

15 April 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Circle See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75: 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Dr. Howard Latimer's house is 33 Ennismore Gardens Mews, Knightsbridge, South West London, England. See more »


Charles Kaufmann, Latimer's friend with a distinctive US accent, telephones him four times. On each occasion Howard - oddly - has to ask who he is speaking with, despite later admitting he believed the first three calls were genuine. See more »


Soldiers of the Queen
Music by Leslie Stuart
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User Reviews

Kept me watching
26 April 2006 | by LewisJForceSee all my reviews

This is no minor classic. But I wouldn't dismiss it quite as quickly as my fellow reviewers. It looks and feels rather like one of those British 'Quota quickies' churned out sausage-style by Butchers films in the 1950's and 60's. Which is not a bad thing. It's longer than those efforts, though, and has more 'names' - the star is John Mills.

I enjoy the way that the piece depicts safe, sterile suburban middle class life turned upside down. Well, not quite 'turned upside down' exactly: there's a charming little scene where dear Johnnie takes his mind off the fact that he's a man on the run for murder by playing a few rounds of golf. The film has a most agreeable atmosphere of suspicion and distrust. Certainty and normality fray at the edges. Nobody can be trusted. Your smoothly amiable best friend of longstanding just might have it in for you. Your fiancée may not be what she seems.

There are some very enjoyable performances. I particularly liked Wilfrid Hyde-White as a civilised but sinister late-night caller. In fact, pretty much everybody in this film does civilised and sinister rather well. Mills is his usual watchable self. The direction is largely uninspired but is nicely unobtrusive: events unfold with pace and sharp simplicity.

If you want to catch a true lost masterpiece of suburban British post-war paranoia, look for Lance Comfort's "Pit of Darkness", with William Franklyn as another urbane professional who finds his routine existence up-ended. There's only one moment in 'The Vicious Circle' to match that film for my money. Don't ask me why, but the scene where Mills turns up at a 'social gathering' and finds only an empty apartment flooded with the sound of pre-recorded party chatter unnerves me every time. It seems that there's a tinge of genuine madness and disruption just lurking at the corners of the frame.

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