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Fog for a Killer (1962)

Out of the Fog (original title)
An ex-con is the prime suspect when a series of murders occur under the full moon, every victim a young blonde woman.

Director:

Montgomery Tully

Writers:

Maurice J. Wilson (screenplay), Montgomery Tully (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Sumner David Sumner ... George Mallon
Susan Travers ... June Lock
James Hayter ... Tom Daniels
John Arnatt ... Det. Supt. Chadwick
Jack Watson ... Sgt. Harry Tracey
Renee Houston ... Ma Johnson
John Welsh ... Governor
Olga Lindo ... Mrs. Mallon
Anthony Oliver Anthony Oliver ... Chaplain
Michael Ripper ... Tich
Hilda Fenemore Hilda Fenemore ... Mrs. Foster
Richard Shaw Richard Shaw ... Harry Smith
Coral Morphew Coral Morphew ... Lily Foster
John Bown John Bown ... Herb Bailey
Rebecca Dignam Rebecca Dignam ... Young Girl with Dog
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Storyline

An ex-con is the prime suspect when a series of murders occur under the full moon, every victim a young blonde woman.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

September 1962 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Fog for a Killer See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Eternal Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Opening credits: All characters in this film are fictitious. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is coincidental. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Foggy thinking behind this murder mystery
10 September 2017 | by DPMaySee all my reviews

The basis of this film is fairly simple: a series of murders begins just as a man arrives in the area having been released from prison. Whilst perhaps not the most innovative of ideas there is certainly no shortage of potential from which to craft an intriguing and entertaining thriller. Unfortunately the film becomes something of a frustrating watch as it consistently fails to make the most of its opportunities.

The murders - well, there are only two, as it happens - take place in the fog on a patch of undeveloped land within the city on nights when there is a full moon, and the victims are young blonde women who get strangled. You would imagine that this would be fertile ground for a film director, and that such visual imagery would be ideal for audiences, but the events are only ever mentioned rather than portrayed, as is also the case with an attack on a third victim who manages to escape.

In fact the majority of the film takes place indoors, probably the result of a lack of time and money, and so rather than being a creepy thriller, the film takes on the guise of a character piece centering around newly-released jailbird George Mallon. Mallon, with nowhere else to go, is given board by an altruistic old gentleman who is helping to rehabilitate ex-convicts and re-integrate them into society, consequently Mallon finds himself sharing digs with a host of other crooks. However, whereas they are a close-knit group, and not necessarily keen on the idea of reform, Mallon rebuffs all opportunities to join their coterie, keeping himself very much to himself. In the aftermath of the first murder, however, the police learn that he was at the scene around about the time of the offence, and so becomes a suspect, and as their enquiries - and more attacks on women - continue, nothing arises which comprehensively eliminates Mallon from the enquiry. Indeed, the circumstantial evidence grows, since a subsequent murder victim was seen arguing with him in a coffee bar shortly before she was killed.

In a desperate bid to snare their man the police use an undercover WPC as bait, getting their prettiest blonde to ingratiate herself with Mallon. Sure enough, events contrive to have Mallon and the policewoman alone together on a foggy night under the full moon and the audience will soon find out whether or not Mallon really is the serial killer...

The film's first mistake is that very few of the characters are likable. Mallon, presumably to convince the viewer that he is a credible suspect, is portrayed as harsh and abrasive throughout regardless of who he is interacting with, which hardly elicits any sympathy for his situation from the audience. He continually insists that people have no time for ex-cons, yet his attitude does him no favours. The other crooks sharing the house are more genial, but nevertheless all to a man they are taking advantage of their host's good nature whilst simultaneously plotting more crimes. As for the police, they are portrayed as bullies. Mallon is quite right in saying that the Sergeant shouldn't have gone through his room without a search warrant. Their skills in investigation and detection would appear to be decidedly limited. Not once is it questioned why a man with form for robbery should suddenly turn his hand to murder, nor why he should volunteer that he was at the scene of the crime when he had the option of an alibi. They give the victim who survives, useless though she is, the briefest of interrogations and don't even bother to get her to take them to the place of the attack so that they can look for clues, or to speak to her boyfriend who allegedly frightened the attacker off. Instead the Superintendent comes up with the ludicrous theory that the murders are taking place on nights where there is a full moon (he somehow knows there was a full moon on each date where an attack previously took place), as though a full moon can be seen in thick fog anyway. Why not just assume the attacker chose to work under the cover of fog?

Only when Susan Travers enters the fray about halfway through the film as the policewoman asked to go undercover do we get a character we can warm to and although there is a suggestion that Mallon has a softer side which might show through, we never quite get to see it. There are hints at there being much more to him, in his meeting with his mother and his propensity to sketch women, but nothing is ever really developed, and the other characters are all rather one-dimensional, especially the policemen who are essentially just men doing their jobs rather than personalities in their own right.

The film is rather dated in its style now, of course, with some hammy dialogue, exaggerated accents and some very intrusive incidental music. The saving grace is the cast, which contains a rich array of character actors, the majority of whom rise above the pervading flatness of the whole thing to deliver performances which are interesting to watch. The likes of George Woodbridge and James Hayter may only be confined to smallish parts, but they are somehow compelling all the same. A fairly short running time prevents the plot from ever dragging and so this title is entertaining even if it never hits the heights it should. But the 'ex-con released back into society' routine had already been done to much more exemplary effect in "Hell Drivers" a few years earlier, and sadly even the comedic "Carry On Screaming" had a better idea of how to draw suspense from women being stalked in foggy woodlands than this film does.


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