Certificate At Gaumont Director: Jack Cardiff
AI, CRONIN wrote the novel I on which this study of the hazards of convicting a man on circumstantial evidence is based. Perhaps, also, there is a plea against capital punishment. For, although on the admission of the studio concerned this is only based on the Cronin work, the common theme concerns the conviction of an innocent man for murder.
The man, Patrick Mathry (Bernard Lee), father of a small boy, is reprieved and goes to penal servitude but gets no remis
Looks at the Films sion of his sentence because his outraged sense of justice leads him to all sorts of violence. Wherr his son (Van Johnson) comes to England from America, where he was evacuated during the war, things begin to move.
For the son is determined to sift the evidence—and this he does to the annoyance of the counsel for the prosecution (Ralph Truman), who is now hoping to become an M.P., and the terror of other folk who have profited by the whole miscarriage of justice.
I hope no one will he base enough even to hint at the identity of the real murderer—quite brilliantly concealed until the moment of revelation. On the way to the solution we meet all sorts of people—Moultrie Kelsall as the hard-bitten Chief Inspector, Jameson Clark as an ex-policeman fallen into alcoholic ways, Jean Kent as a tough ex-street girl, Emlyn Williams as a philanthropist, and Vera Miles as the girl who helps the son in his search for truth.
Jack Cardiff, once an ace film photographer, by his tight, wellknit direction shows how he has profited from his long years of work behind the camera.
NIGHT OF THE QUARTER MOON Certificate A: Ritz Director: Hugo Haas
fT would be nice and easy to say
that the colour bar only exists among the bigoted and unenlightened and that only diehards disapprove of miscegenation. But it's not true.
Here we are presented with an extreme case of racial prejudice. The son of a millionaire San Francisco family (John Drew Barrymore) falls in love with and marries a beautiful girl (Julie London) whose maternal grandmother was a Portuguese-Angolian — a fullblooded African. That makes the girl a "quadroon" and that is the word that hits the headlines when news of the wedding reaches the less restrained of the newspapers.
Follows a rare to-do with the millionaire mamma (Agnes Moorehead) trying to get the marriage annulled and the local hoodlums throwing stones through the windows of the newly-married couple's abode.
The message would have been more surely rammed home if the dialogue (especially in the early part) had been less banal and naive, if the action had not been cut into by cabatet stuff (obviously the presence of Nat King Cole in the cast was simply not to be ignored by producer and director), and if the otherwise excellently conducted court trial had not been cheapened by a threat of striptease in the closing moments.
I liked the quiet acting of James Edwards as the coloured counsel. Nat King Cole also is given some thought-stimulating lines when he pours scorn on the type of negro
Or negress who just wants to make a dust-up--exploiting racial discrimination for money. Evil breeds evil, he protests. How true.
John Miles writes on : COMPULSION Certificate A: Carlton Director: Richard Fleischer
I N the early 1920's even crime hardened America was shocked by a particularly revolting murder in Chicago. Two young men, the sons of wealthy parents, kidnapped and murdered a young boy merely to prove to themselves that they could commit the perfect crime.
Such an appalling story could
easily have been turned into an offensive film, but Richard D. Zantiek has in fact produced one of the most absorbing and intelligent films in recent months.
It divides easily into two parts. The first is an excellent psychological thriller of the " will they get caught" as opposed to the "who done it" variety. It explores the extraordinary abnormal relationship between the two youths whose amorality becomes even more horrifying because of their intellectual brilliance.
Once they are arrested, due to an amateurish mistake by one of them, the boys fade into the background and the last 30 minutes of the film is virtually a one-man performance by the film's main star, Orson Welles.
As the defence counsel for the boys he even excels Charles Laughton in " Witness for the Prosecution", and his final impassioned plea against capital punishment alone makes the film well worth seeing. It would be interesting to know what Welles' views on hanging really are ; his apparent sincerity seems too deep to be assumed. and it provides an excellent conclusion to this thoughtprovoking and in some ways disturbing film.