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The Hangman Waits (1947)

The Hangman Waits - This 1947 semi-documentary style featurette shot around the news of the world press, is a story of the attempts to apprehend the perpetrator of several grisly murders. A... See full summary »


A. Barr-Smith


A. Barr-Smith


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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Turnbull ... Inspector
Beatrice Campbell Beatrice Campbell ... Usherette
Hylton Allen Hylton Allen ... Night Editor, Daily Clarion
Kenneth Warrington Kenneth Warrington ... (as Ken Warrington)
Anthony Baird Anthony Baird ... Sinclair
Vi Kaley ... Old Woman in Crowd outside Queens Theatre (as Vi Kailey)
Bessie Courtney Bessie Courtney
David Mowbray David Mowbray
Michel Bazalgette Michel Bazalgette
Edwin Ellis Edwin Ellis ... (as Teddy Ellis)
Leonard Sharp Leonard Sharp ... Joe, Railway Left Luggage Office
Knox Crichton Knox Crichton
James Lomas James Lomas
Robert Wyndham Robert Wyndham ... Knight
Clifford Cobbe Clifford Cobbe ... (as Clifford Cobb)


The Hangman Waits - This 1947 semi-documentary style featurette shot around the news of the world press, is a story of the attempts to apprehend the perpetrator of several grisly murders. A fascinating film produced by Five Star Films at Viking Studios Kensington using the mediums of the Press and the cinema. Good historic scenes of the News of the World Printing Plant and Victoria Station. Written by Steven Bain

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

June 1947 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Five Star Films Ltd. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


First film featuring John Le Mesurier (uncredited). See more »


There is a complete mismatch of the stock footage of the two trains which are used to indicate the murderers means of transport following the murder - the engines are two totally different class locomotives. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: This story is true . . . . .

By that we do not mean these events actually happened. We mean that it is a story of real newspaper life.

While you sleep in your beds the news of the world is collected, sifted, investigated and presented by mechanical means at your breakfast table.

This is primarily a film to show how that comes about. The story selected is an old one. Murder . . . . .

But every murder story is front page news for a newspaper. And if this film helps you to know how that news appears on the breakfast table, it will have achieved its object . . . . . . . See more »

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User Reviews

The only mystery is why this film was ever released when it was.
30 September 2011 | by new_market41See all my reviews

The plot in this curiosity is simple enough. A cinema usherette is murdered immediately following a dalliance with the cinema manager and with the killer on the loose, we follow the police attempts to catch the person responsible and a newspaper's (ironically The News of the World) efforts to get the story. Some attempt was made to make a kind of semi-documentary out it (rolling printing presses etc) but I suspect it was hoped to deflect from the plot's deficiencies.

I'm really not sure why this film was ever made. It was released in 1947 when British Cinema was perfectly capable of making professional and entertaining films but this film is neither of those things. It looks and feels as though it was made at the dawn of talking pictures with some stilted performances, erratic editing and simplistic storyline.

There are some faults in the actual physical quality of the film but I'm not criticising those because this is obviously a rarity that must have been rescued from the darkest corners of Renown's vaults and if you are like me, curiosity means you must watch it for your own satisfaction.

So – accept this film purely as a rare curiosity and nothing more. However it is notable for one thing. The sharp-eyed viewer will see the very first screen appearance of the great British character actor John Le Mesurier. His first film is often quoted as being DEATH IN THE HAND from 1948 but he appears here as a newspaper employee called into his editor's office and has one line to speak.

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